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riic Madonna willt Si. Scbasliaii. 


His Lift\ his Friends^ and his Time 









Matty of the plates and text illiistratiotis 
ill this work have been reproduced from 
photographs taken by Messrs. Ad. Bratiii 
et Cie. (Paris), Anderson (Rome), 
Alinari (Florence), Brogi (Florence), 
Haitfstiingel (Munich), and Morelli 
(London), who have kindly given per- 
mission for their reproduction. The 
pictures by Correggio at Hampton Court 
Palace, and those nvned by the Duke 
of Wellington and Lord Ashburton, 
with some others, have been specially 
photographed, and are here reproduced 
for the first time. 

now n the Palatine Library at Parma.; 


THE earliest biography of 
Correggio is that in Vasari's 
Lives, a valuable record, in 
spite of the admixture of fable 
with its more sober details. No 
contemporary of the master's left 
any account of him ; his name, 
indeed, was never mentioned by 
any writer of his day, not even 
by Ariosto, who was the friend and intimate of the Lords of Correggio, 
and who enumerates the most famous painters of the period in a well- 
known passage of his great poem. When Vasari collected his material, 
he found it already overlaid with legends and improbabilities ; and 
those who are familiar with the critical methods of his age will not be 
inclined to blame him too severely for having occasionally bound up 


tares with his wheat. Whatever the defects of his biography, it was 
undoubtedly the means of preserving many valuable facts. 

After Vasari, no biographer devoted himself to any exhaustive 
study of Correggio until the eighteenth century. The steady growth 
of an appreciative admiration of his work expressed itself in an interest 
that was technical and artistic, rather than personal. Painters lauded 
him and copied his pictures ; writers of treatises upon art, such as 
Borghini, Armenini, Scannelli, and many others, expatiated on his style 
and his works, but were content with what Vasari had told them of 
his life. 

Baldinucci, indeed, makes a casual allusion to his history, but could 
not produce any further materials towards his biography when it was 
proposed to complete and correct Vasari's work. It is somewhat mis- 
leading, however, to put this forward as an evidence of indifference 
to Correggio's fame. Baldinucci's admiration for the master is at- 
tested by the following passage in a letter of i6Si: "1 myself knew 
an artist who in his youth had made copies from many of Correggio's 
marvellous works in Parma and elsewhere, with which drawings he 
covered the walls of his room, that they might be a perpetual reminder 
to him of the unique style of that great man, and open his mind to 
grand and novel conceptions. " 

Like Baldinucci, other writers of artistic syntheses, catalogues, 
biographical dictionaries, and encyclopaedias throughout the seventeenth 
and eighteenth centuries contented themselves with Vasari's account of 
the; master. Even Mengs, whose dissertations upon Correggio's work are 
so copious and appreciative, made no attempt to resolve the numerous 
chronological difficulties that beset him by the help of contemporary 
documents, and only lingers over the painter's biography when he finds 
in it some support for a theory or preconception ot his own. Ratti 
follows him obsequiously, at times .ill but reproducing his very 

The first biography of Correggio marked by any sound critical 

knowledge and evidence of original research, was Tiraboschi's life in 
the Bibliotcca Modenese. He examined and published various un- 
known documents, harmonising them, and drawing conclusions from 
them with admirable simplicity and good sense. His work was not 
complete, because conditions forbade such completeness. Many 
documents now accessible were then buried in public or private 
archives ; many others were jealously guarded by those erudite dogs 
in the manger who propose to themselves a task they never accomplish, 
and put obstacles in the way of their more practical and energetic 
rivals. Correggio's works were scattered in all directions ; of many 
there were no reproductions at all, while others could be studied only 
in defective engravings, which at best gave an imperfect idea of 
the design and composition. 

Tiraboschi's study served as a guide to all who wrote of Correggio 
until the appearance of Padre Luigi Pungileoni's three volumes, which 
showed an important advance in research, and contained many fresh 
details of great interest. Its usefulness is much discounted, however, 
by its confused and chaotic arrangement, a result of the author's be- 
wildering method of separating his narrative from the documents he 
quotes or transcribes. This system led to constant repetitions. His 
style is another stumbling-block. It is unimaginably prolix, slovenly, 
and artificial — so artificial as to become unintelligible where there is 
nothing to prevent the most absolute clarity. 

The work, however, does not deserve all the abuse that has been 
heaped on it by some who have made free use of the vast amount 
of material it contains. 

A considerable space of time was allowed for the fructification of 
Pungileoni's researches, during which fresh material accumulated in 
the shape of minor critical publications, and reproductions of the 
master's works, notably those of Paolo Toschi and his pupils, wlio 
reproduced the whole of his frescoes. A most important contribution 
to the literature of the subject then appeared. This was Julius Meyer's 

biography of the EmiHan painter, pubHshed at Leipzig in 1871.- 
Meyer had carefully studied all the works of his predecessors ; he had 
examined the master's works, and collected copies, engravings, and 
photographs. He wrote incisively, courageously denying Correggio's 
authorship of many works falsely ascribed to him for centuries, and 
re-establishing his claim to others of which he had been deprived. 
He is, perhaps, occasionally over-discursive, lingering unduly over 
matters of slight importance. The plan of his book, too, is open 
to criticism ; his numerous subdivisions lead to redundancies. In his 
historical catalogue of the master's wnvrc, for instance, he is obliged to 
repeat many statements already made in the first part of his work. 
The treasury of facts and deductions brought together by this accom- 
plished critic did not deter Ouirino Bigi, Margherita Albana Mignaty, 
and others, from a return to the old fables. With these they embel- 
lished their studies to such an e.xtent that the new and valuable 
material at their command is lost in a maze of sentimental rhetoric. 
While these writers amused themselves by blowing a series of bril- 
liant literary soap-bubbles, others were engaged in the more serious 
task of examining types and technical elements, and establishing 
Correggio's affiliation to the school of Ferrara, in contradiction to the 
hitherto accepted theory of his Lombard training. That these fresh 
and accurate observers were further inclined to deny the presence of 
the Mantegnesque elements so apparent in the master's work, is one 
of those vagaries only to be accounted for by the exclusive spirit which 
seems to animate all new departures. Criticism was, nevertheless, on 
the right track ; recognising, as we must of necessity, that Mantegna's 
works furnished Correggio with various motives and peculiarities of 
type, we may at the same time unreservedly accept the fact that he 
grew up and developed under Ferrarese influences. Giovanni Morelli 
was the first to formulate this theory, and to him we also owe the 
discovery of several of the master's juvenile works. His re- 
searches have been followed \\\) and extcndc^d by students such as 


Richter, Frizzoni, VY'iUiiri, Bode, Hugo voii Tschudi, ami man}- 

We believe that a new book on Correggio is likely to be oi use at 
the stage of in(|uiry now reached, and the thanks of all stutlents of 
the master are due to the English Publisher, whose enterprise and 
artistic enthusiasm have given us the means of supplying this want. 

It is time to assign to the painter his true position in the school to 
which he belongs ; to undertake a methodical examination of his intz're, 
correcting its chronology, adding to it those works which recent 
research has restored to the master, and rejecting those which modern 
criticism is unable to accept. 

This book, which epitomises the results of recent studies, may claim 
to have undertaken more than this. The author hopes that the unpub- 
lished documents he has examined have thrown light on some obscure 
pages of history ; that others, erroneously transcribed by former writers, 
and now carefully compared with the originals, may have suggested 
new deductions and observations. 

In conclusion, we maybe allowed to dwell for a moment on the plan 
of the present work. Each age has its individual literary methods. 
The old system of biography, which divorced its heroes almost com- 
pletely from their surroundings, caring nothing or little for contemporary 
persons and events, the prevailing sentiments of their times, the moral 
atmosphere in which they lived and worked, is completely exploded. 
The intellectual development of the Emilia during the Renaissance has 
hitherto been studied almost exclusively in those feverish manifesta- 
tions of activity which characterised her great social centres. It was 
necessary in the present instance to explore ground less familiar to the 
student, to examine into the life of the minor courts of that wide 
territory, where the art which reached its highest expression in 
Correggio was born and developed ; to learn something of its artists, 
its savants, its princes, its clergy, its people, and to study the spirit 
by which they were animated. This scrutiny of a society, always 

essential to the comprehension of a personality which has flourished in 
its midst, was more than ever necessary in the present case, because of 
the lack of all the direct elements of a psychological estimate. Cor- 
reggio's life was a singularly uneventfiil one. It was marked by no 
violent passions, no dramatic episodes, but ran its appointed course 
silently and peacefully, in a round of family duties and artistic labours. 

A special importance is given to the present work by the illustra- 
tions, which reproduce the places where the artist lived and painted, 
the portraits of some of those with whom he came in contact, all the 
works by him of which we have any knowledge, and several examples 
of those of his scholars. This is the first work on Allegri completely 
illustrated by photographs from originals, including his great frescoes, 
hitherto known only by engravings. 

On these grounds we claim a certain consideration for our book, in 
the preparation of which we have been helped by the valuable sugges- 
tions of many friends. Our thanks are especially due to Dr. Gustavo 
Frizzoni, Professor G. Piancastelli, Director of the Borghese Gallery, 
Professors Giulio and Giuseppe Ferrari, and N. Campanini of Reggio, 
Dr. Vittorio Cottafavi, Professors Emilio Mculi and Enrico Cattini 
of Correggio, the Abate Luigi Barbieri, Dr. Giovanni Mariotti, Signor 
Paolo Baratta, Prof Franc. Brandileone, and Signora Giulia Caputo of 
Parma, Professor Adolfo Albertazzi of Mantua, Count G. B. Gandini, 
Signor Paolo Maestri and Cavaliere Paolo Fabrizi of Modena, Dr. H. 
Weizsacken of Frankfort-on-the-Main, Mr. .Sidney Colvin, etc., etc. 

In our critical estimates we have endeavoured to avoid the pitfalls 

of fetichism. If the more fanatical worshippers of Correggio find us 

lacking in enthusiasm, and his detractors blame us for our leniency, we 

must content ourselves with the- knowledge of having sought the 

golden mean. 

J'.\l<M.\, Oclok-r, [Sy5. 

(Fresco, now in the Parma Callery.) 




The Revival of Culture— The Horrors of the Middle Ages— The Bentivogli 
at Bologna — The Boiardi at Scandiano — The Pico P'amily at Mirandola— The 
Pio Family at Carpi — The Gonzaghi at Novellara — The Torelli at Guastalla 
and at Montechiarugolo — The Pallavicini at Cortemaggiore — The Rossi at 
Parma — Love of Art in Italv 

The Lords of Correggio — The Allegri Family and their Social Statu 




Artists in Correggio — Francesca of Brandenburg's Palace — Lorenzo Allegri 
and Francesco Bianchi-Ferrari — The Ferrarese School of Painting 





Influence of Mantegna — Imaginary Journeys to Rome and Milan — Lorenzo 

(Josta, Dosso, and Lionbruno — I'ictures at Mantua attributed to Correggio . 53-74 



\'eronica Gambara— Her Relations with Correggio and with the Court of 

Mantua — Isabella d'Este 75 — 91 



The Franciscan Altar-piece at Dresden — Juvenile Pictures by Correggio at 

Milan, Pavia, Modena, Florence, Munich, Sigmaringen, and London .... 92—112 


Transition Period — The "Repose in Egyjjt " in the Uffizi — "La Zingarella" — 
The "Madonna with the Two Children" in the Prado at Madrid — The 
"Holy Family with St. James" at Ham])ton Court — "The Madonna of 
Casalmaggiore " — Lost Pictures — The " Herodias " — The " Triptych of the 
Redeemer"— Correggio's Supposed Journeys to Carpi and Novellara — The 
Albinea Picture — The " Young Man fleeing from the Ca])tors of (Christ " . . 




Parma— Artists who flourished there before Correggio— Correggio at Parma — 
The Convent of San Paolo and the Room decorated by Correggio — Giovanna 
Piacenza and Scipione Montino — " Diana " — " The Marriage of St. Catherine " 
— The " Madonna suckling the C'hild " (known as the " Madonna del Latte") 
■ — The "Madonna with the P.asket " ("Madonna della Cesta") — The 
" Virgin adoring the Infant Christ " 143- 183 




The Church and Monastery — Correggio receives the Commission — The Siege 
of Parma — The Frescoes of the Dome and Apse — Decorations of the Nave — 
The Lunette of " St. John " — "SS. Piacidus and Flavia" — The "Descent 
from the Cross" 184-224 



The"Ecce Homo" — "Christ in tlie Garden of (lethsemane " — " NoH me 
tangere" — Pictures of the Magdalen — " St. Catherine Reading" — "Ft. Joseph " 
^^- St. Jerome- 2:^5-240 



The "Madonna della Scala" — "The Annunciation" — The Cupola of the 
Cathedral — ThePendentivesand the Balustrade — The Canon's Jest — Drawings 
— The Fame of the Work , 241—272 



The " Madonna with St. Sebastian" — The "Madonna with St. Jerome" — 
The "Madonna della Scodella " — "The Nativity, known as 'La Notte.'" — 
The " Madonna with St. George " 273—300 



" Antiope" — "The Education of Cupid " — Events in Correggio— Works exe- 
cuted for Federigo Gonzaga and their history — " lo ' — " Danae " — " Leda " 
— "Ganymede" — "Vice" — "Virtue" — The Loves of Jupiter 301 — 325 


The Painter's End — Suiiposcd Portraits of Correggio — His Disposition and 
Character — His Tomb — Monuments to his Memory — The History of a Skull 326 — 340 




Personality — School — Composition — Correggio and Michelangelo compared — 
Subjects— Sketches— Drawing — His intuitive sense of Foreshortening — His 
Sentiment — Great Artists contemporary with him — His tumultuous grouping 
of Figures in motion— Religious Feeling and Sensuality — Essential Character- 
istics of Art — Correggio's technique — Chiaroscuro — Light — Colour — His 
affinity with Leonardo, Giorgione, and Lorenzo Lotto — Technical methods — 
His use of the Brush — " Correggiosity " and " Demoniac Force " 341 — 367 


correggio's pupils and nirrATORS ■ 

Francesco Maria Rondani — Michelangelo Anselmi — Parmigianino — Girolamo 
Mazzola-Bedoli — Giorgio Gandino del tJrano — Bernardino Gatti, called // 
Sff/aro—Le\io Orsi of Novellara — Giovanni Giarola— Pomponio Allegri— Ad- 
mirers and Imitators— The Carracci— Correggio's Fame 368 — 392 

A Catalogue ov CoRRKcnio's Works 393 — 398 

Index 399-40S 

30,/or " Pier tlella Francestvi," rea^ " Piero (Jella Francesca. " 

4, ,, " which formerly filled the spaces above the presses or wardrobes," 7Vad " flanking the heads of the 

old presses or bookcases.*' 
15, ,, " the great toe much longer than the rest," reaii "the great toe raised above the rest." 
18, ,, " foreground," rea^ " Eastern compartment." 
22, „ "less interesting," rfrt<^ "more interesting." 
28, ,. " his arms folded on his breast," reaii " his arms outstretched." 
i3 from top, /or "produces," read "produce." 
2 from top, the sentence beginning "We "should read as follows: — "We may, however, call attention 
to one little known example which has, perhaps, a better claim to authenticity than tlie rest, though 
it has never been reproduced before." 
II from lop, last sentence of paragraph to read : ".Slight as it is it is thoroughly artistic and full of 
animation and intelligence." 
3, insert after "creature," "Termine fisso d'eterno consiglio." Paradise x.v.\iii., v. ^. 


The Madonna with St. Sehastian. (Dresden (iallery.i Frontispiece 

The Madonna with St. Francis. (Dresden Callery.) 94 

The Nativity. (Signor Ca\-. Benigno Crespi, Milan.) 96 

Madonna and Child with .\ngees. (Uffizi Gallery, P"lorencc.;> 100 

Madonna with two Children and St. Elizaiieth. (In the Palace at Siymarin^'cn.) 102 

Christ taking leave of His .Mother. (Mr. R. H. Benson, London.) 104 

SS. Peter, Mary Magdalen, Martha, and Leonard. (In the Collection of Lord 

.\shburton.J 106 

The Holy Family in Egypt. (Uffizi Gallery, Florence.) 114 

The Holy Family. (Hampton Court Palace.) 116 

The Cupola of the Camera di S.\n Paola, 160 

Marriage of St. Catherine. (Lomre.) 170 

Madonna DELLA Cesta. (National Gallery, London.) .' 180 

The Adoration of the X'iroin. (Uffizi Gallery, Florence.) 182 

Head of an .Apostle. (Fresco in the Cathedral at Parma.) 202 

St. John the Evangelist. (Fresco in San Giovanni Evangelista, Parma.) 218 

Martyrdo.m of SS. Placidus, Flavia, Eutychius, and Victorinus. (In the Parma 

Gallery.) 220 

ECCE Homo. (National (lallery, London.) 226 

Christ in the Garden of Gethse.mane. (Apsley House, London.) 232 

Noli me TaN(;ere. (Museo del Prado, Madrid.) 234 

St. Catherine Reading. (Hampton Court Palace.) 238 

The Cupola of the Cathedral, Par.m.v 252 

St. Hilary. (Pendcntive of the Cupola in the Cathedral at Parma.) 256 

St. Bernard. (Pendentive of the Cupola in the Cathedral at Parma.) 258 

St. John the Baptist. (Pendentive of the Cupola in the Cathedral at Parma.) . ... 260 

St. Thomas. (Pendentive of the Cupola in the Cathedral at Parma.) 264 



The Madonna with St. Jerome, commonly called " 1l Giorno." 'Parma Gallery.) -78 

Fragment oi- the "St. Jerome Madonna." (Parma Galler)-.) 2S2 

.Angel fro.m the "St. Jerome Madonna." (Parma Gallery.) 284 

Madonna della Scodella. (Parma Gallery.) 286 

Heads FRO^r the " IVL\donna della Scodella." (Parma Gallery.) . . . . 28S 

Study for "The Nativity" (La Notte). (British Museum.) 290 

The N.\tivity, commonly called "La Notte." (Dresden Gallery.) 292 

The Madonna with St. George. (Uresdcn Gallery.) 296 

Antiope. (Louvre.) 302 

Danae. (Borghese Gallery, Rome.) 316 

Leda. (Royal Gallery, Berlin.) 318 

The Procession to Calvary. (Parma Gallery.) 380 


UlANA. (Fresco, by Con-eggio, in the Camera di San I'aoln.) '/'///i--/iiii;r 

The Coronation of the Virgin, bv Correggio. (Fresco, now in the Palatine Library 

at Parma.) v 

Fragment of a Fresco, rx Correggio. (Mr. L. Mond, London.) v 

The Annunciation, by Correggio. (Fresco, now in the Parma Gallery.) xi 

The Three Graces. (Fresco in the Camera di San Paolo at Parma.) i 

Putti. (Fresco in the Camera di San Paolo at Parma.) ' 

TORCHIARA. (Fortress built by Pier Maria Rossi.) S 

Castle of thf, Boiardi at Scandiaxo ii 

Medallion of Giovanni Pico della Miranhoi.a 13 

Palace of the Pio Family at Carpi if> 

C.-\STLE of the Gonza(;a FAMIl,^■ AT Novellara 17 

Montechiarugolo, Castle of the Torelli 19 

Tomb of the Pallavicini at Cortemaggiore -o 

Medal of Pier Maria Rossi 21 

Adonis. (Fresco in the Camera di San Paolo at Parma.) -4 

Putti. (Fresco in the Camera di San Paolo .at Parma.) 24 

View of Correggio 25 

Capital of a Pillar in S. Francesco with Arms of ihe CokREc,(;Esciii ... 27 

Home of the Allegri at Correggio 33 

Bonus Eventus. (Fresco in the Camera di San Paolo at Parma.; 37 

Putti. (Fresco in the Camera di San Paolo at Parma.) 37 

Inner Court of the Palace of the Lords of Correggio 41 

Doorway of the Pal.\ce of the Lords of Correggio 5' 

The Earth. (Fresco in the Camera di San Paolo at Parma.) 53 

Putti. (Fresco in the Camera di San Paolo at Parma.) 53 

Our Lady ok Victory. (Altar-piece by Mantegna, in the Louvre.) S*"' 

Madonna and Child. (From ^Lantegna's Triptych in the L^filzi.) 5^ 

Madonna and Child. (By Mantegna, in the Uifizi.) 59 

Holy Family. (By Mantegna, in the Church of Sanl' Andrea, Mantua, i • ■ ^'O 

Fragment from Mantegn.Vs Triumph of Julius C.t.sar. (From the Engraving.) . 61 

Bust of Mantegna, in Sant' Andrea at Mantua '^7 


Castle of thk Goxzaoa Family at Mantua .... 68 

I'KESCO IN the Castle at Mantua 73 

Juno Chastised. (Fresco in the Camera di San Paolo at I'aniia.i -75 

Putti. (Fresco in the Camera di San Paolo at Parma.) 75 

Portrait of Veronica Gambara 77 

Armorial Bearings of Veronica CiAMiiAkA 7S 

Cupid crowning Isabella d'Este. (From Lorenzo Costa's "Allegory" of her Court. 

In the Louvre.) 88 

■Vllegorv of the Court of Isabella d'Este, bv Lorenzo Costa. (In the Louvre.) 89 

.\ Vestal. (Fresco in the Camera di San Paolo at Parma.) 92 

Purri. (Fresco in the Camera di San Paolo at Parma.) 92 

Church of San Francesco, at Correggio 96 

Marriage of St. Catherine, by Correggio. (Dr. (.',. Frizzoni, Milan.) icx) 

The Piping Faun, by Correggio. (In the Munich Gallery.; 107 

Malaspina Madonna, by Correcxjio. (In the Communal Gallery, Pavia.) 108 

liOLOGNiNi Madonna, by Correggio. ( In the Municipal Gallery, Milan.; 109 

Cami'OKi Madonna, by Correggio. Mn the Estensc Gallery, Modena.) iir 

The Philosopher. ^Fresco in the Camera di San Paolo at Parma.) 112 

Putti. (Fresco in the Camera di San Paolo at Parma. j 112 

The Madonna with the Rabbit, known as " L.\ Zing.\kei,la." :In the Naples 

Museum.) 117 

The Madonna with ihk two Ciiii.drkx. (In the Prado, Madrid.; 120 

The Madonna with the two Children, by Correggio. (M FianUfort-on-the-.\Iain.; 121 
Coi'\- OF C0RRE(;(;io's " Redee.mer," by one oi' the Cakk.\cci. fin tlie Vatican.; . 124 

St. John Baptist. (Panel from Correggio's lost Triptych.; 127 

Ganymede. (Fragment of a Fresco, in the Modena Gallery.; 129 

Church ok Albinea 133 

Copy OF THE Ai.binea Madonna, b\ CokkE(,gio. 1 In the Breia, Milan.) 136 

The Young Man fleeinc; fro.m the Captors of Ciikisf. (Copy, after Correggio. 

In the Parma Gallery.) 137 

Fragment of Fresco, by Correggio. (Mr. I.. Mond, London.; 139 

Fricsco in San Giovanni Evan(;elista, by A. Carracci, after Correggio. (In 

the Parma Gallery.) 140 

I'kesgo in San Giovanni EvANcaoiisiA, by .\. Carracci, .mfer Correggio. (In 

the Parina Gallery.) 142 

The Temple OF JUPITICR. (Frcsro in the Camera di San Paolo at I'arma.l 143 

Putti. (Fresco in the Camera di San Paolo at Parma.) 143 

Cathedral and Baptistery, Parma 145 

Virgin Enthroned, by ^Formerly in the Consorzio at Parma.. 14S 

St. Catherine before the Dot roRs, va Akaldi. : l'"iesco at Parma.) 149 

The ANNUNCi.\iTf)N, WITH St. Caiherixe and Si. Si;b.\stia\, ascribed ki 

LoDOVico DA Parma or to Araldi. (In the Parma Gallery.) ... 
Coat of Arms of the City of Parma. (In the Lille Museum.) ... 
Cloister of the Convent of San P,\oi.o, Parma 

i,isi- oi- I'l'.xr ii.i,us'iK.\ rioxs xi\ 

Coat f)i- Arms of nil', AiiUKas (',io\ann.\ Piacknza i6o 

Hon- (".KNii FROM THi-; Camera di Sax Faoi.o. ai"1kr Corkegcio. (In the Weimar 

Museum.) |6, 

Diana. (Fresco, by Correggio, in the Camera di San Paolo.) 166 

Fk.vgment from the Histor\ of St. James, i;\ Mantecna. (In the Cappella degh 

Eremitani, Padua.) '('^ 

Marriace of St. Catherine, nv Correggio. (Signor I'aolo Fabrizi, Rome.) ... 172 

Marriage of St. Catherine, ascriheu to Correggio. (In tlie Xaples Museum.) . 173 
Dra\vin(; of the Marriage of St. C.\therini-:, .\scrii:eii to Correggio. (In the 

Royal !.il5rary, Turin.) '7'' 

.Marriage of St. Catherine, AsCRiiiEU to Correggio. : Ur. Th. Srhall, Berlin.) . 177 

Madonna and Child with Saint.s. (Sketch by Correggio. In the \'ienna Museum.) 180 

The BlANCONl .Madonna. (From the Engraving.) 181 

Charitv. (In the Louvre.) 182 

The F.vtes. (Fresco in the Camera di San Paolo at Parma.) 184 

PUTTI. (Fresco in the Camera di San Paolo at Parma.) . 184 

Interior of San C.iovanni Evangelista, 188 

.\I'0ST1.ES .\ND Cheruhs. (Study for the Cupola of Sau C.iovanni Evangelista. In the 

N'ienna Museum. j 189 

Cupola and Tower of San Ciovanni Evangelisia, at Parma 192 

Abbey of Torchiara, near Parma 193 

Door and Windows in nil-, Cilmtkr-iioise 01 S\\ Ciov.wni F:\-.\ngei.ista, 

I'AKMA 195 

.AriOliRAPH SK.VKD .\\ro\IO D.\ CoKEZA, .MaKCH I5, I 524 I96 

The Cri'oi.A oi San Ciovanni Evangelista, Parma. i;v Correggio 197 

.'\POSTLEs AND .Xngfi.s, |!V CorREGcuo. (From the Cupola of San Ciio\anni Exangclisla. 

Parma. J 199 

.Apostles and Angels, BV Corregi;io. (From the Cupola of San C.ioxaiini Evangelista. 

Parma.) 200 

Apostles and .Angels, by Correggio. (From the Cupola of San (".io\anni Evangelista, 

Parma.) 202 


BY CORRE<;f;iO. (In the Louxre. : 203 

.Apostles and .Angels, nv Correggio. 'From theCuimla of San C.iovanni Evangelista, 

.Apostles and .AN(;ei.s, by Correggio. From the Cupola of San C,io\anni Evangelista, 

Parma.) 205 

The Symbols of the Evangei.isis. n\ Corre(;gio. Study for ihc Cupola of San 

Giovanni Evangelista, Parma. In ilu- l.nuvre.) 206 

St. Luke and St. Ambrose, Si. .Mark and St. GRiiGOR\. i:\ CoRRF:(;Gin. (Pcn- 

dentixes of the Cupola of San Giovanni Evangelista, Parma. ■ 208 

St. John and St. .Augustine, St. Matthew and St. Jerome, bv Correggio. 

(Pendentives of the Cupola of San Giovanni Evangelista, Parma.; 209 

Choir-stai.i> in San Giovanni Evangelista. Parma . 212 


Castle of the Goxzaga Family at Mantua 68 

Fresco in the Castle at Mantua 73 

Juno Chastised. (Fresco in the Camera di San Paolo at Panna.) 75 

Putti. (Fresco in the Camera di San Paolo at Parma. ,i 75 


Armorial Hk.vrincs ok Veronica Cambara 78 

Cupid crowning Isabella d'Este. (From Lorenzo Costa's "Allegor\'' of licr Court. 

In the Louvre.) SS 


.A Vestal. (Fresco in the Camera di San Paolo at Parma.) 92 

PUTTi. (Fresco in the Camera di San Paolo at Parma.) 92 

Church of San Francesco, at Correggio 96 

Marriage of St. Catherine, by Correggio. (Dr. (;. Frizzoni, Milan. j 100 

The Piping Faun, by Correggio. (In the Munich Gallery.) 107 

Malaspina Madonna, by Correggio. (In the Communal Gallery, Pavia.) 108 

BoLOGNiNi Madonna, by Correggio. (In the Municipal (iallery, Milan. ,1 109 

Campori Madonna, by Correggio. (In the Estense Gallery, Modena.) in 

The Philosopher. (Fresco in the Camera di San I'aolo at Parma.) 112 

I'tiri. FiL-sco in lilt Camera di San Paolo at Parma.) 112 

Thk Mai.onna Willi TiiK Rabbit, known as "La" iln the Naples 

Museum.) 117 

The Madonna with the TWO Chilhrex. (In the Prado, Madrid. i 120 

TllF. M.MiONNA with THE TWO CHILDREN, BY CORREGGIO. (At Fiankfort-on-lhe-Main.) 121 

Si. John Baptist. (Panel from Correggio's lost Triptych.) 127 

Ganymede. (Fragment of a Fresco, in the Modena Gallery.) 129 

Church of Albinea 133 

Coi'v OF itie .Albinea Madonna, by CORRii(;Gio. (In the ISrera, Milan.) 136 

The VobXG Man fleeing from the Captors of Christ. (Copy, after Correggio. 

In the Parma (lallcry.) 137 

Fragment of Fresco, by Correggio. (Mr. L. Mond. London.) 139 

Fresco in San Giovanni Evangelista, by A. Carracci, after Correggio. (In 

the Parma Gallery.) 140 

Fresco in San Giovanni EvAMnii.isrA, \:\ .\. Carracci, .xi'if.k CokuI'.ggio. (In 

the Parma Gallery.) 142 

The Temple of Jupiter. (Fresco in the Camcr.i di San I'.iolo at I'ainia.l 143 

PUTTI. (Fresco in the Camera di San Paolo at Parma.) 143 

Cathedral and Baptistery, 1'\k\i\ 145 

Virgin Enthroned, by Casei.i.i-Te.mfi ki i i i. iTomicrly in the Consorzio .it Panii.1.1 148 

St. Catherine before the Doctors, \\\ .Au.m.ih. il'ic^rnai I'.iniia.' 149 

The Annunciation, with St., \.\i> Si. Si.:i;,\si i.w, ascribfh ki 

Lorjovico DA Parm.\ or to .\rai.di. (In ihr I'ainia Gallery.,1 151 

('o.\t of Arms 01 iiif Cfi\ m I' (In the l.illc Miismm.) 152 


Coat oi- Arms of ihk Ar.iiESS Ciovaxna Piacen/a i6o 

Bo\- (".ENIl l-KOM THK CAMERA Dl SaN PaOI.O, AFTER CORREGUIO. ( 111 the Weill!:!!" 

Museum.) ifji 

UlANA. (Fresco, by Correggio, in the Camera di San Paolo.) \6(> 

Fr.\g.ment fro.m the History of St. Ja.mes, by Mantecna. (In the Cappclla degli 

Eiemitani, Padua.) 168 

.M.\rria(;e of St. Catherine, ry Correugio. (Signer I'aolo Fabrizi, Rome.) ... 172 

Marriage of St. C.-vtherine, ascribed to Correggio. (In the Naples Museum.) , 173 
Drawt.n'g of the Marriage of St, Catherine, ascribed to Correg(;io. (In the 

Royal Library, Turin.) 176 

.Marri.u;e of St. Catherine, .\.scriked to Correggio. lUr. Th. Schall, Beilin.) . 177 

.VIadoxxa and Child with Saints. (Sketch by Correggio. In the \'ienna -Museuin.) iSo 

The Bianconi Madonna. (P'rom the Engraving.) 181 

CHAR1T^■. Tn the Lou\re. 1 182 

The Fates. (Fresco in the Camei-a di San Paolo at Parma.) 1S4 

PUTTi. (Fresco in the Camera di San Paolo at Parma.) 184 

Interior of San Giovanni Evangelista, Parma 188 

.-\P0STl,Es .\ND Cherubs. (Study for the Cupola of San Giovanni Evangelista. In the 

\"ienna Muscun!.) 189 

Cupola and Tower of San Giovanni E\-.\\c;elisi.\, .\'r P.\rm.\ 192 


Door and Windows in the Ciiai'TEr-iioi'se oi- San (;,iov.\nni, 

I'-^i^^i-^ '95 

Autograph signed .Antonio da Cure/^a, March 15, 1524 196 

The Cupola of San Giovanni Evangelista, Parma, by Correggio 197 

Apostles and .\ngels, by Correggio. (From tlic Cupola of San Giovanni Evangelista, 

Parma.) 199 

Apostles and Angels, by Corrf,G(;io. (From the Cupola of San Giovanni Evangelista, 

Parma.) 200 

Apostles and .Angels, by Correggio. (From the Cupola of San Giovanni Evangelista, 

Parma.) 202 

Study of an .Apostle for the Cupola of San Giovanni Evangelista,, 

BY Correggio. Tn the Lou\ re. < 203 

.Apostles and .\\gki.s, by Correg.gio. jFrnm the Cupola of San Giovanni Evangelista, 

''■^''"''■' ^04 

Apostles and Angels, u\ Correggio. ' From the Cupola of San Gio\anni Evangelista, 

The Symbols of the Evangelist.s, by Corricggio. i Study for the Cupola of San 

Giovanni Evangelista, Parma. In the Louvre.) 206 

St. Luke and St. .Ambrose, St. Mark and St. Gregory, by Corregi;io. (Pcn- 

dentives of the Cupola of San Giovanni Evangelista, Parma. I 208 

St. John .\nd St. .Augustine, St. Matthew and St. Jerome, by Correggio. 

(Pendentives of the Cupola of San Giovanni Evangelista, Parma. I 209 

Choir-stalls in San Giovanni Ev.\ngelista, Parma . 212 


Apse of San Giovanni Evangelista, Parma, ev Cesark Aretusi, after Cor- 

REGGio 213 

St. John the Baptist, from a copy i>.v the Carracci, after Correggio. (In 

the Parma (Gallery.) 216 

The Coronation of the Virgin, p.v Correggio. (Study for the Apse of San 

Giovanni Evangelista, Parma. In the Louvre.) 217 

Study for the Martyrdom of St. Placidus and St. Flavia, dy Correggio. 

(In the Louvre.) 220 

The Descent fro.m the Cross, by Correggio. (In the Parma Gallery.) 223 

Ino LeUCOTHOE. (Fresco in the Camera di San Paolo at Parma. ) 225 

PUTTl. (Fresco in the Camera di San Paolo at Parma.) 225 

Figure of an Apostle, nv Correggio. (Study for the Cupola of the Cathedral at 

Panna. In the \'ienna Museum.) 227 

Study of Children, by Correggio. (In the Duke of Devonshire's Collection, Chats- 
worth.) 228 

Study of Children, by Correggio. (In the Duke of Devonshire's Collection, Chats- 
worth.) 22Q 

Study of Children, UY Correggio. (In the Duke of Devonshire's Collection, Chats- 
worth.) 230 

Reading Mage)Alen, formerly ascribed to Correggio. (In the Dresden Gallcr\. 237 

St. Jero.ME. (From an engraving; in the Palatine Library, Parma.) 238 

St. Joseph. (From an engraving in the Palatine Library, Parma.) 239 

Ceres. (Fresco in the Camera di San Paolo at Parma.) 241 

Putti. (Fresco in the Camera di San Paolo at Parma.) 241 

The Madonna della Scala (Madonna of the Staircase). (Fresco by Correggio, 

in the Parma Gallery.) 242 

Madonna della Scala, by Correggio. (In the Weimar Museum.) 244 

\'iRGix AND Child, by Correggio. (In the British Museum.) 245 

Parma Cathedrai 248 

Interior of the Cathedral .\t Parma 249 

Correggio's Autograph Agreement to paint the Frescoes in the Cathedral 252 
Figure from Soffits of the .'Arches in the Cupola of the Cathedral .\t 

Parma, by Correggio 254 

Figure from Soffits of the .Arches in the Cupol.x of itie Cathedral at 

P.vRMA, I'.Y Correggio 255 

Fk;urk from Soffits of the .Arches in iiik Cui'oi.a of ihk C.vthedral .vr 

Parma, n\ Correggio 256 

Figure from Soffits of ihk .\rciies in the Cupola of iiie Cathedral at 

Parma, by Corre(;gio 257 

Figure fro.m Soffits of riiE .Arches in the Cupola of phe Cathedral at 

I' ARM A, BY Correggio 258 

Figure from Soffits of the Arches in the Cupola of the Cathedral at 

Parma, hy Correggio 259 

Study for the Pendkniivk, with St. John, bv ("oRkEGGin. Intlic Louvre.) . . 260 


ApOstlf^s and Anck.I.s, ]'.\ CORREi;i;i(). (Fresrocs of tlie Cupnla in the Cnthedral al 

Apostles and Angels, ky Correc. 

(UO. (Frescoes of the Cupol; 

in the Cathedral .al 



r, \'iKi;iN. (Fresro in ihe Cu 

)ola of the Cathedral 

Eve, v.\ Corrf.ggio. (Stuth- for ilic 

Fresco in the Cathedral at V 

irnia. In the liritish 

Miispiim.1 _ 


The Assumption, k\ Correcgio. i. Study for the Cupola of Parma Cathedral. In the 

Dresden Museum.) 268 

AoANt, Abraham, and Isaac, bv Correggio. (Study for the Cupola of I'arma 

Cathedral. In the Royal Library, Windsor Castle.) 269 

Study for an Annunclation, attributed to Correggio. (In the Louvrc.i , . . 270 

Head of a Boy, a Copy after Correggio. (In the Ufifizi, Florence.^ 271 

A Satyr. (Fresco in the Camera di San I'aolo at Parma. ) 273 

Puttl (Fresco in the Camera di San Paolo at )\arma.) 273 

View of Modena 277 

Correggio's Autograph Agreement for .\lt.\r-pieci-, of "The ^■.\TnlT^'■ . . . 292 

Church of San Prospero, Reggio 293 

Study for the Madow.v with Sr. Ckorge, v.\ Correggio. (In the Dresden 

Museum.) 296 

Study OF Putti for ihe MAnoNN.\ wrni S r. (iroKCK. In the Uffizi, Florence.). 297 
St. Ag.\tha, St. Anthony, St. John itiI', Paimisi, and Sr. Rnni. i!\ Correggio. 

(Drawing in the Uffizi, Florence.) 299 

Chastity. (Fresco in the Camera di San Paolo at Parma. > 301 

Putti. (F"resco in the Camera di San Paolo at Parma.) 301 

Study FOR .^NTIOPE, BY Correggio. (In the Royal Library, Windsor.) 302 

Dra\vin(; OF Woman reclining, with Children, .\scribed to Correggio. iln 

the Louvre.) • 304 

The Education of Cupid, by Corregiuo. (In the National (jallery.) 308 

lo, BY Correggio. (In the Belvedere, Vienna.) 315 

Study for the Ganymede. (In the Weimar Museum.) 320 

Vice, an Allegory, by Corrpx.gio. (In the Louvre.) 322 

Virtue, an Allegory, by Correggio. (In the Louvre.) 323 

Virginity. (Fresco in the Camera di San Paolo at Parma.) 326 

Putti. (Fresco in the Camera di San Paolo at Parma.) 326 

St.ytue of Correggio, by .'Vgostino Ferrarini. (In the Piazza, Parma.) 338 

Statue of Correggio, BV Vincenzo X'ELA. (In the Piazza, Correggio.) 339 

Supposed Coat of Arms of Correggio 340 

Fortune. (Fresco in the Camera di San Paolo at Parma.j 341 

Putti. (Fresco in the Camera di San Paolo at Parma.) 341 

M.\donna and;Child, with St. Sebastian and St. Roch, by Anselmi. (In the 

Parma Gallery. , 347 

The Madonna with St. Z.\chariah, by Parmigianino. (In the Ufifizi, Florence.) . 348 


The Annunciation, \:\ C,\\<o\.\mo Mazzola-Bedoi.i. (In ilie Xaples Museum.) . . 349 
Madonna and Child with Saints, 1!V Giorcio Gandino hel Grant}. 'In the 

Famia Gallery.) 350 

The Virgin and Dead Christ, uv (FraKment from the I'ieiJi in the 

Parma Gallery.) 356 

Amorini sHarpkninc; ihitr Arrows. v.\ Corrkgoio. fFragment from the Daniie 

in the Borghese Gallery, Rome.) 361 

Madonna and Child, by Rondani. (In the Naples Museum.: 367 

Minerva. (Fresco in the Camera di San Paolo at Parma.) 368 

Putti. (Fresco in the Camera di San Paolo at Parma.) 368 

Madonna and Child, with St. Augustine and St. Jerome, by Ronijani. (\n 

the Parma Gallery.) 37° 

.Madonna and Child, wtth Saints, i;y Ronhani. (In the Naples Museum. 1 ... 371 

Portrait of Parmigianino, uy Himself. (In the Ufiizi Gallery.) 373 

.MARRI.4GE of St. Catherine, by Parmigianino. (In the Parma Gallery. ,1 374 

Portrait of Antea, by Parmigianino. (In the Naples Museum.) 375 

Mothers presenting Offerings. (Fragment from the Conccptioiu by <'jirolamo 

Mazzola-Bedoli. In the Parma Gallery.) 376 

St. Clara, by Girolamo MAZZOLA-BEUdLL , In the Naiiles Museum.) 377 

St. Robert, Abbot of Chaise-Diei', v-\ Gir<il.\mo M.\zzola-Bedoi.i. i In the 

Parma Gallery.) },l'^ 

PoRiRAlT OF Nicoi.n OuiRiri) S.\\\ IT \l,l :. (School nf Correggio. In the I'.inna 

(iallci-y.i 381 

.Allegorical Figure oi- I'.\rm\ lmp.racini; .\lessandr(.i F.nrnesf, r,\ Girdl.xmo 

Mazzola-Bedoli. (In the Naples .Museum.) 3S4 

Madonna and Child, with the Inf.\nt St. John, i:\ Pomi'onio .Ali.eciri. (In 

the Parma Gallery.) 385 

The Legend of 1)i.\n.v and Act.1£0n, by 1'.\r.\iigianino. (In the Castle of Fontanellato. ' 3S<') 

TheLegkndof Dian.v and .^ct.t.ON, by P.vrnhgi.vnino. (In the Castle of Fontanellato. ) 387 

.\lAh(i\N.\ .\Nl) ClllLli. with Saixi'S, i:\ 1'assakotti. (: In the Bologna Gallery.) . . 389 








IW'b^LL remember a certain 
chilly April morning I once 
spent on the summit of 
Cimone, the highest point of the 
Emilian Apennines. The pale 
light of dawn had scarcely 
pierced the mass of floating 
cloud about the peak, which the 
wind drove before it at inter- 
vals, tearing it capriciously into 
shreds, now of dense, now of 
diaphanous vapour. From every 
twig and shoot silvered by 
the mist, leaves and drops of 


moisture fell slowly to the ground. The melancholy of earth and 
sky, still shuddering under the touch of winter, entered into the 
soul, till the sweet tranquillity of spring seemed at most but a far- 
away possibility. 

Suddenly, the disc of the sun shone through the gray veil of cloud, 
but so shrouded that it was possible to gaze at it unflinchingly 
for a time. Then the mist began to disperse above, and to roll 
along the valleys below, in long strips and banderoles, which furled 
their floating streamers, and disappeared like a swarm of flying- 
ghosts. In a few minutes the blue of the sky and the gold of the 
sun shed a glow of youthful joy over the landscape, and the vast 
valley of the Po lay clear and luminous below, from the Eugan:ean 
hills to the mountains of Verona. 

Watercourses and marshes sparkled in the distance ; dim clusters 
of buildings revealed the sites of cities and villages, round which 
ancient fortresses, villas, and churches rose sharp and radiant among 
the neighbouring mountains ; and a joyful sound of bells, mingling 
with the songs of innumerable birds, seemed to hail the return 
of s[)ri ng. 

Thus, when the dark mists of media^valism rolled away, and the 
Italian spirit rose again from the dead, a spiritual resurrection closely 
allied to the natural phenomena I have described took place on this 
self-same territory, when Bologna, Ferrara, Mantua, and Parma 
suddenly shone forth as radiating centres of the arts and sciences, 
the greater stars of constellations which numbered among their lesser 
lights Scandiano, Reggio, Modena, Carpi, IMirandola, Correggio, and 

Throughout the period of the Renaissance each of these cities 
could boast of great ladies, princes, and soldiers of the utmost 
splendour and refinement, and of famous artists and men of letters, 
whose ijrestigc entitled their parent towns to vie not unsuccessfully 
with the greatc-r Italian courts, where all was refined and magnificent, 
polished and sum[)tuous, from personal adornment to architectural 
decoration, from domestic habits to s()cial usage, from tournament to 
actual warfare, from pastimes to funerals. Each civic festival, each 


religious function, was a spectacle animated by the living flame of art. 
Every detail was so designed as to gratify eyes athirst for beauty ; 
and this resthetic instinct, this passion for the beautiful, informed every 
action of men, even such as sprang from a perverted moral sense, or 
were the outcome of suffering and anguish. Thus, every creation of 
genius was secure of a sympathy that took small account of propriety 
or of virtue. The sinister elegance of Pietro Aretino's scurrilous 
invective attracted universal admiration ; at once the terror and the 
favourite of popes, cardinals, and princes, he was acclaimed by the 
title of " the divine." Machiavelli wrote admiringly of the con- 
summate atrocity of Ccesar Borgia, in luring the various leaders who 
had conspired against him to their doom at Sinigaglia. Scholars of 
the University of Perugia ran in crowds to see the dead body of 
Astorre Baglione, because its composed yet tragic grandeur of atti- 
tude was said to suggest that of some antique Roman famous for 
his heroic end.^ And some few hours earlier, perhaps, the youthful 
Raphael, conquering his natural timidity, had hastened into the 
street to watch the same Baglione dashing into Perugia on horse- 
back, the torchlight gleaming on his armour, like some divinely 
menacing Archangel Michael.- 

The fever of art inflamed the blood of all sorts and conditions of 
men. The nobles and the clergy competed against each other to secure 
the services of artists and acquire their works ; the very populace 
discussed and admired them. Antimaco relates that the crowd which 
flocked to see Mantegna's S. Afar/a dclla Vittoria " was something 
incredible, and that the people could not tire of gazing upon this noble 
work." '^ 

The discovery of the Laocuon caused such enthusiasm that the 
crowd besieged the Terma; day and night. A contemporary writes : 
"All Rome flocked thither die noctuquc, as if to a jubilee.''^ When 
Benvenuto Cellini's Perseus was set up in the Piazza della Signoria 

1 Franc. Matarazzo, Croiiaca di Perugia {Archiv. storko italiano, xvi. 122). 
- Burckhardt, Die Cultur der Renaissance in Italien, chap. iv. (Leipzig, 1869). 
3 Attilio Portioli, La vera storia di un dipinio alebrc {Giornale di erudizioiic artistica). 
ii. 157. Perugia, 1873. 

^ Giornale storico della letteratura ita liana, xi. 210. 


in Florence, " such a concourse ot persons assembled to see it that it 
would be impossible to give any idea of their number." ^ 

This joyous enthusiasm seems all the more vital and vigorous 
when we consider the life of Italy in the Middle Ages, throughout 
which the cities lay stifled, as it were, under a funeral pall of dense 
superstition. Pictures of skeletons and cross-bones piled at the foot of 
a crucifix were common ornaments of the street-corners. In little 
niches above the doors of the monasteries, ghastly skulls seemed to 
glare at the spectator from livid and hollow sockets. The spaces 
around churches and sanctuaries were white with funeral urns and 
head-stones ; within, and in the cloisters, were other tombs ; and under- 
ground, gloomy crypts, into which the obscurer corpses were lowered 
indiscriminately. He who offered up a prayer knelt on the marble 
that closed a sepulchre. The air became putrid, the black shafts of 
cypresses rose on every side, images of death and its terrors held 
undisputed sway. In times of pestilence, corpses accumulated up to 
the very walls in the streets and squares. In the depths of night, the 
sinister howling and trampling of famished beasts, the groans of the 
dying, the despairing sobs of the superstitious, inspired the grim and 
sarcastic conceits of the so-called Dances of Death : sarcastic, because 
Death, in his ruthless impartiality, smote even the great and powerful 
with the same fatal vertigo and delirium. The poor and wretched 
recognised Heaven's vengeance on the oppressor, and derided him, 
exulting in the knowledge that here at least the mighty were powerless, 
for all their weapons, and the rich, for all their abundance. The 
danse macabre they daily witnessed worked like a madness upon the 
agitated fancy of the populace. The emperor and the beggar, the 
pope and the arch-heretic, the high-born lady and the brazen courtesan, 
the noble clothed in purple and gold, and the tattered vagabond — all 
joincil hands in the giddy round ; and Death, laughing hideously the 
while, rushed upon \.\\(\ slothful, overthrew the rebellious, and crushed 
the proud. Meanwhile priestly orators poured forth threats and 
denunciations from the puljjit ; monks prophesied disasters in the 
[jiazzas ; p()i)es hurled their excominunicalory thumlerbolts, and the 
' Cellini, Aiitohiografui, cIkiji. xiii. 


minds of writers sank exhausted under the incubus of strange and 
terrible visions. 

The general squalor was most apparent in the cities. After the 
ringing of the angelus there were few passengers on the muddy or 
dusty highways. At night the darkness was only broken here and 
there by lamps burning dimly before sacred effigies, while mortals 
slept or suffered within the houses. 

Life had become one long terror and peril. Interminable 
domestic broils, repeated foreign invasions, the fratricidal wars of 
city with city, commune with commune, brought in their train fire, 
sack, and carnage, the overthrow of buildings, the destruction of 
harvests, and their necessary complements, dearth, famine, and 

But after the crusades a gentle breath of new-born gaiety 
seemed to make itself felt through the sufferings and dangers of the 
times, and to show its workings alike in life and art. It was the 
convalescence of the Italian spirit, returning to the joyous energy of 
classic times with all the sweet and smiling calm of renewed health. 
Crises, struggles, and despair still convulsed the land at times ; but 
such visitations were less prolonged and crushing, and all the joy of 
healthy life asserted itself in the intervals. The famous fresco of the 
Campo Santo at Pisa, the Triumph of Death, represents a joyous 
band diverting themselves with music and song in the close vicinity 
of a mass of festering corpses, and, in a like spirit, contemporary 
chronicles pass from the records of war and pestilence to accounts of 
banquets and tournaments. The fresco, indeed, might serve as 
illustration to the chronicle of Fra Salimbene. Describing the 
apparition of certain sinister stars in 1 239, he goes on to relate 
how, being in Pisa at the time, he entered a certain shady and ver- 
durous court of the city in quest of alms for his convent, and there 
lighted upon an assembly of youths and maidens, who, in the midst 
of the general stupor, were singing to the sound of viols, guitars, 
and other instruments, and accompanying their music by a rhythmic 

' Fr. Salimbene, Chronica. Parma, 1S57. 


Thus did minds satiated and exhausted by horrors turn with eager 
zest to the jests of Basso della Penna, Messer Dolcibene, Ribi, and 
Gonnella, and to the painted comedies of the artist Buffahnaco. 

At the return of May, a springtide ramble became a sweet and 
pleasant pastime, an occasion for joy and love to those who had been 
so long confined in gloom and solitude. 

The Sienese chronicler, Agnolo di Tura, tells us that after the 
terrible pestilence of 1348, those who had escaped the contagion 
plunged into dissipations of all sorts, and thought of nothing but 
spending and feasting : " Every poor man appeared to be rich, from 
the mere fact of his having escaped so great a plague ; and all who 
had survived or escaped became as it were brethren ; each man 
recognised his neighbour, and jested with him as with a kinsman, 
and all were alike absorbed in the pursuit of pleasure." ^ 

From amidst such contrasts as these the spirit of art rose into 
being, frank, virginal, immediate ; for one of the principal stimulants 
of art is variety, and of variety, wonder. Fair palaces and churches 
populous with sculptured and painted figures sprang up on every 
side ; the music of Dante and of Petrarch sounded through the 
land, and the mirth and wit of the age flashed out in the novels of 
Boccaccio and of Franco Sacchetti. 

As the definition and consolidation of the Italian States progressed, 
and the consequent growth of their aristocracies was assured, art 
and culture in their turn were established on a more stable basis. 
Not only did Rome, Milan, Venice, and Florence rise to fame, but 
Perugia, Urbino, Rimini, Ferrara, Mantua, and other cities. The 
Gonzaghi, the Lords of Montefeltro, the Estensi, the Malatesti vied 
with each other, and even more emulously with the popes, the 
Medici, the Bentivogli, and the Sforzi in attracting artists and men 
of letters to their rcs|)ective courts, and showering honours upon 
them ; in collecting works of art, both modern 'and ancient, and in 
translorming their palaces into museums of pictures, marbles, bronzes, 
tapestries, china, furniture, musical instruments, illuminated books, 
medals, and engravings. 

' A|i. Muraloti, Ker. ital. script xv. 724. 


Political intrigue and military Ijroils were alike powerless to 
distract men's minds from their artistic preoccupations. The man 
of the Renaissance was above all things eclectic and versatile. His 
activity manifested itself in forms the most diverse. Savage in war 
and sentimental in love, he laid aside the sword for the pen, writing 
sonnets and love-lyrics, just as, upon occasion, his mistress would 
turn from book and harpsichord to the government or defence of the 
state. He superintended the execution of works of art, suggested 
motives for the decoration of his buildings, drew the plans of his 
castles. Returning from fields on which he had fought with courage 
and distinction, he retired to his court or his castle to discuss history 
and poetry. As, in joust or tournament, he could deal unerring 
thrust and blow, so could he offer gallant homage in prose, or verse, 
or sumptuous monument. 

Sigismondo Malatesta commemorated his lawless passion for Isotta 
in the decorations of the church at San Francesco at Rimini, heedless 
of the wrathful anathemas of Pius II. Pier Maria Rossi built two 
fortresses in honour of his mistress, ISianca Pellegrini, to one of 
which he gave her name, calling it Roccabianca. Occasionally a 
lover would dedicate some splendid chamber to the memory of his 
passion. Thus the Rossi above named caused the various phases of 
his love to be illustrated by paintings and by decorative symbols and 
allusions in the Golden Chamber of the fortress of Torchiara. Caterina 
Sforza, the widow successively of Count Girolamo Riario and of 
Giacomo Feo, built a luxurious nest for her third love, Giovanni 
dei Medici.^ These erotic monuments, the great interest and im- 
portance of which as illustrations of contemporary manners have been 
somewhat overlooked hitherto, were in the nature of votive offerings, 
shrines constructed in honour of some adored person, which the devotee 
sought to make resplendent as gems. 

Such alternations of passion and endeavour, of strife and peace, 

of love and hate, of hard fighting and pious exercises, were peculiarly 

favourable to the development of art, which has invariably reached its 

highest development in times of great moral agitation. The supreme 

' Leont Cobelli, Croiiachc forlivesi, p. 413. Bologna, 1S77. 


vigour of the Renaissance was indeed attained at one of the most 
fatal and perilous epochs of Italian history. From the battle of 
Fornovo to the downfall of Florence, ''the fair land" was harassed 
iiy incessant warfare. Youthful leaders passed away like meteors in a 
fiery sky ; (iaston de Foix, the Connctable de Bourbon, ("liovanni delle 
llande Nere, and the Prince of Orange, all fell before the age of 
thirty, at the very moment when victory and military glory smiled upon 
each. While every family had its tragedy, every city its experience 

i-f ' 



? j^^JJ^">^^^^^JI 


by Pier Maii.T Rossi 

of sack and pillage, pestilence and carnage, Art, gentle and consoling, 
went steadily on its predestined way. 

In no region of Italy did the artistic activity of the Renaissance 
fnid more ubiquitous local expression than in the territory which 
comijrises the; cities of Bologna, Fcrrara, Mantua, and Parma. 
Wiiereas Rome, Milan, Venice, and Florence focused and concen- 
trated the intelleclnal life of a wide radius, leaving the minor cities 
beyond in a languid penumbra, in the P^milia evcay little centre had 
a dignified court, of no small political and artistic imjjortance. 

Leaving out ol accoimt such lamoiis names as those of Fste and 


Cionzaga, because both families arc well known to all students ol 
history, and further, because they flourished on the confines ot the 
Kinilia, we sludl fnid in the Emilia itself perpetual traces of personali- 
ties only less famous than these, such as the Bentivogli of Bologna, 
a branch of the Gonzaghi at Novellara, the Torelli at Guastalla and 
at Montechiarugolo, the Pio family at Carpi, the Lords of Correggio, 
the Pico family at Mirandola, the Boiardi of Scandiano, the Rossi 
of Parma, and the Pallavicini of Busseto and of Cortemaggidre. 

Nevertheless, it cannot be denied that the Renaissance in Bologna 
failed to manifest itself with all the splendour which might have been 
looked for in that rich and populous city. This fact, however, was 
by no means due to any lack of initiative or of intelligence among 
her citizens or rulers. It must rather be attributed to that lack of 
internal unity, and those frequent changes of go\ernment, which 
jeopardised liberty, induced perpetual surrender and compromise, 
and emasculated independence. So soon as Bologna found herself 
nourishing under the stable rule of a single family (the Bentivoglio), 
art, culture, and social magnificence developed steadily and amply. 
Sante and Giovanni II. surrounded themselves with artists and men 
of letters summoned from all parts of Italy, and threw themselves 
heart and soul into the task of beautifying the city, extending streets 
and squares, building palaces, decorating churches. 

In Ginevra Sforza, the wife first of Sante and afterwards of 
Giovanni Bentivoglio, the love of art and perhaps some other virtues 
were choked by pride and superstition. Whilst youth still smiled 
upon her, and the star of her house was in the ascendant, she was 
satisfied with the treasure wrung from the Bolognese to deck her 
dwelling and prepare her regal feasts. But when she perceived 
the discontent that was simmering among the people, and began 
to dread the conspiracies of her enemies, she gave way to the natural 
ferocity of her disposition, and incited her own sons to deeds of 
the most atrocious treachery. 

It was, nevertheless, at her instigation that Sante began, and 
Giovanni completed, the palace which all contemporaries agreed to 
be the most magnificent specimen of domestic architecture in Italy. 



"Truly," exclaimed the historian Alhcrti, "this palace was a marvel, 
and all were at^reed that it could not have cost less in the execution 
ihan a hundred aw] fifty thousand ducats," a sum e(|ual in value to 
alxiut six and a half million //n\ 

Old writers assure us that the [)alace contained, besides the five 
great halls or saloons, two hundred and forty-four vaulted rooms, 
gorgeous with tapestries, furniture, and pictures by famous artists. 

The /oj^X'/"^' which led from the third court to the garden, was 
decorated by Lorenzo Costa with frescoes of the burning of Troy, and 
I'Vancesco Francia adorned Giovanni's own room with pictures " which 
it was no over-praise to call sublime." And it may be imagined how 
magnificent was the fresco oi Judith and Holofernes, when we learn 
that Raphael esteemed it so highly that he sought diligently for the 
original cartoon. The building was, in short, a royal palace, replete 
with every luxury and Ijeauty ; gardens full of statues, busts, and 
terms, refreshed by fountains, the limpid waters of which were brought 
from the hills around the city ; stately staircases, cool cloisters, and 
grac(;ful peristyU^s ; armouries, vast granaries, and lodgings for in- 
numerable retainers, guards, and falconers.^ 

Compared with this lordly palace, the castle of the Boiardi at 
Scandiano must have seemed modest, and even poor, but that Matteo 
Maria was able to glorify it with splendid visions.- This great poet 
has a peculiar interest for us in the various points of contact to be 
lound, both as artist and man, between him and Correggio. He, 
like the [laintcr, was !.'entle, quiet, and modest, absorbed in his 
tavourite studies, a creator and luminous painter of novel types and 
marvellous effects. Tranquillity of .soul and of surroundings left full 
liberty to thi; soaring flights of that fancy which now hovered about 
Antonietta Caprara, now followed Orlando and Rinaldo, Angelica 
and Fiordelisa throughout the mazes of extravagant love scenes and 
chivalrous encounttn-s. 'i'he healthful air and celebrated wine of the 
hills gave strength to both mind and body; the former he exercised 

1 Alhrrti, S/oria di JU>loi^iui, M.S. i\'. 163. Ciov. Gozzaclini, Mcmoric chlla vita di 
aiovo/i/ii //. Jiai/iiVi^/i,,. llolo-iia, 1839. 

■' S/i«li ill Mallei) Maria Boiarda. liolomia, iS(i4. 

by study, llic laUcr in ritliiig ami liuiuing amoni^- the mountains of 
Ivinano and of Riolunato, or in the enchanting ravine; from which 
the Trcsinaro emerges. 

In his art he was not onl)- poet Init It is recordetl of 
him, that having long racked his hr.iins in vain for a name tor one 
of the characters in his Orlando Jnnatiiorafo, he ordered all the hells 
to be rimg in his delight when the sonorous syllables of Rodaiuoilc 
suggested themselves. 

His solitary life did not make him a misanthrope, nor did constant 
metlitation transform him into a stoic philosopher. He never lost his 

joyous love of art, anil his pleasure in sjilendid pageantry. He 
appreciated and enjo\ed iIk; varied and vigorous life of that age, 
among whose worthiest sons we now reckon him. 

He would often, indeed, descend from Scandiano, and repair 
to neighbouring Reggio, or to Ferrara, to the court of the Estcnsi. 
Reggie was the domicile of Antonietta Caprara, the lady he so 
deeply love<l ; she caiiic thither during the reign of Sigismondo 
d'Este. Approaching the city, he would gaze earnestly through the 
trees to catch the first glimijse of its towers, his heart beating wildly 


when he fancied he discerned heron her balcony, " among the white 
marbles and brightly-coloured flowers." We know not how this 
romance ended. It is not imlikely that Antonietta was removed 
from Reggio. 

Our poet was perhaps not entirely heart-whole when he offered his 
hand to Taddea dei Gonzaghi, of Novellara. But the time came when 
he could forget everything for his wife She is described as having 
"eyes that were small, but sweet and gentle," and seems to have 
been more admired for the dignity and distinction of her person and 
bearing than for actual beauty. It is certain that he loved her with 
a tenderness only to be equalled by his affection for the children she 
bore him. What a wealth of sympathy underlies the following brief 
words : " My powers of invention have been a good deal affected of 
late, by reason of my wife's ill-health." 

Yet this just and "humane man" {noiuo iniiaiio), the friend 
and companion of princes, barely escaped death by poison, prepared 
for his destruction by his kinsmen, and others upon whom he had 
heaped benefits. And we may well believe that Boiardo's nobility 
of soul was recognised by his contemporaries, when we learn that 
the would-be perpetrators of the crime threw themselves on his 
generosity, and that he exerted himself, first to obtain commutation 
of their sentence, and, finally, a full pardon. 

In 1 48 1 he was appointed ducal captain of Modena ; si.x years 
later the Estes made him governor of Reggio. His fame, not alone 
as a poet, but as a man rich in prudence and honesty, procured him 
a warm reception in the latter territory, where, though he had little 
opportunity for the display of statecraft, he won universal respect 
by his noble integrity of character, and a})i)roved himself a wise and 
patriotic guardian of the city entrusted to him. He gave notable 
proofs of his sagacity at the time of Charles VII I. 's descent into Italy, 
when he had to deal with the double problem of at once treating 
the troops with indulgence and preserving his country from violence 
and rajjine. 

The- melancholy caused by physical sutlering was aggravated in 
his last days by the misfortunes of the Italy he so deeply loved. Long 


before, greatly distressed by the Venetian war, he had exclaimed, 
towards the clost; of the second part of his Or/aiido Iinianioralo : — 

.'^Lnlciulo Italia di lanicnti i)icna 

Nun che ora canti, ma rcspiro apiicna.' 

He died in the same year as Giovanni Pico, the son of his atmt 
Ciiulia, and the splendid ornament of another little Emilian city, 
Mirandola. Giovanni Pico was no less remarkable for his cultivated 
mind and prodigious memory than for the independence of thought 
which led him, even in those days, when such an attitude incurred 
dangers and difficulties innumerable, to combat the follies of astrology, 
and to deliver philosophy from the futilities of the schoolmen. It is 
specially to be noted that he challenged a public disputation in Rome 
on four hundred theses and five hundred opinions of his own, but 
the discussion was prohibited on the ground that several of his theses 
were rankly heretical. He, however, was none the less eager to 
ventilate them, showing in the pursuit of philosophy all that zeal 
which was wanting in his administrative policy. It was, no doubt, 
the sense of his own unfitness which led him to renounce that place 
which belonged to him by right in the State, thus escaping the fury 
of the perfidious Galeotto, 
which vented itself in double 
measure on his brother An- 
tonio, the father of that Vio- 
lante who married Giberto 
da Correggio. 

A strain of originality, 
bordering on the fantastic, 

distinguished all the members of this cultured family. Lucrezia Pico, 
wife of Count Claudio Rangoni of Modena (another patron of learning, 
eulogised by Bernardo Tasso, Bandello, and Aretino), was a passionate 
admirer of sacred oratory, and like the Countess of Guastalla, 
had dreams of the perfectibility of the human race. She is 
remarkable as the authoress of a letter in defence of her sex, which 
gives her a place among the pioneers of those who uphold the rights of 

' Hearing the lamentations of Italy, how should I sing, who can scarcely breathe ? 


women. Culture of the most serious and solid quality distinguished 
Gian Francesco, who was permitted to govern in consideration of 
having sworn fealty to Julius 1 1., assailant and conqueror of Miran- 
dola. He was gentle, honest, and pious, wrote a number of Latin 
theses on a variety of questions, and frequently attacked the doctrines 
of Aristotle, defending the memory of Savonarola, and, like his 
famous uncle, ridiculing the contemporary belief in witchcraft and 
kindred superstitions. To be brief, it may be said of him that his 
nobility of soul equalled the loftiness of his genius ; but such qualities 
did not avail to save him from the ferocity of one of his nephews, 
who murdered him at the foot of a crucifix. He left a son, Gian 
Tommaso, who in his turn sought consolation for his misfortunes in 
the pursuit of letters. Lilio Gregorio Giraldi was long a sojourner 
at his Court. 

The neighbouring city of Carpi, close to Correggio, was distin- 
guished by no less magnificence. Its splendour was mainly due to 
the Pio family, who reigned there from 13 19 onwards, ornamenting 
it with churches and palaces, and encircling it with walls. Its 
prosperity was at its zenith during the youth of our painter, under 
the sway of Alberto Pio, whose mother was sister to the famous 
Giovanni Pico, of whom we have spoken.' Left an orphan in his 
infancy, his cousin Marco acted as regent during his minority, 
eventually attempting to oust him altogether from the government of 
the State, and secure it to himself. All Marco's energies were therefore 
directed to the philosophic, literary, and artistic culture of his young 
kinsman. Among the tutors he gave him was Aldo Manuzio the 

But Alberto's practical talents soon manifested themselves, even 
amidst the preoccupations of humanistic studies. He speedily rose to 
eminence, and found himself sought out by statesmen, and concerned 
in grave political questions. Marco's schemes proved abortive. This, 
however, is certain — that Alberto's delight in art and letters fully 
compensated him for his political troubles. It does not come within 

' 11. .Sl.-iii|)lt, F. O. Sc1)u1/.c and \V. liartli. Carpi. Ein Fiiislciisitz do- Renaissance 
(Dresden, 18S2). 


the scope of the present work to recount the vicissitudes of his career 
as a ruler. Our oliject I^eing merely to show the degree of culture 
attained in the Kniilia at the time of Correggio, we may pass over his 
attempts to conciliate Louis XII. and the Emperor Maximilian, and 
dwell only on that part of his policy which had for its object the 
prosperity of his city. 

He raised many remarkable buildings, among others the Church 
of -St. Nicolo, from the designs of Baldassare Peruzzi of Siena, who 
also furnished the plans of the cathedral which Alberto began. In 
I 504 he beautified his gigantic palace by the addition of a splendid 
inner court, adorned with sculptures. Two years later he introduced 
the art of printing into Carpi, placing it under the management of a 
famous typographer, Benedetto Dolcibelli, after having first invited 
Aide, who was desirous of forming a literary centre for the production 
of new editions of the classics. Meanwhile he added a library to 
San Nicolo, and formed another for himself, mainly by the acquisition 
of Giorgio Valla's collection. In 1509 he obtained a concession from 
the Emperor Maximilian, empowering him to coin gold, silver, and 
copper money. He rebuilt the church of S. Maria della Rosa, restored 
the walls of Carpi, and strengthened them with bastions. As may 
be supposed, he sought out and favoured men of letters, among the 
latter Sigismondo Santi, Barigazzi, Carlini, Francesco Coccapani, and 
that Trifone Bisanti so much esteemed by Ariosto. 

But though Marco's care for Albert's education had been directed 
mainly to unfitting him for the guidance of the State, he did not neglect 
that of his own children. His daughter Emilia, in particular, who Went 
to Urbino as the wife of Antonio da Montefeltro, was eulogised by 
Bernardo Castiglione in his Cortigiano as a model of culture and 
refinement. The valiant and unfortunate Gian Marsiglio Pio also 
found solace in letters, and himself related the story of his woes in 

Near Carpi, and therefore near Correggio, with which we shall 
deal more particularly further on, two other small cities rose to fame, 
and may claim their share of glory in the intellectual movement of 
the day. These were Guastalla and Novellara. 


At Novellara we find the wise, humane, and pious Francesco 
(ionzaga, the frieml of Saint Bernardino of Siena, who visited him 
at his Court. P'rancesco Ijusied himself with improvements of all 
kinds, and added many fine buildings to his city. A man of wide and 
tolerant mind, he permitted Jews to settle in his dominions. Among 
the more brilliant members of his house were his wife, Costanza 
Strozzi, the granddaughter of a famous poet, and his fair daughter 
Camilla, beautiful in person as in mind, who herself wrote graceful 
verses, and fascinated Molza and Casio, who both wrote enthusiasti- 

cally in her praise. She went shortly afterwards to Vicenza as the 
wife of Count Alessandro da Porto. 

The Torelli were meanwhile ruling in Guastalla. Achille certainly 
did not shine as a beneficent prince. Even his wife, the sweet and 
gentle Veronica Pallavicino, had no softening influence on his violent, 
vicious, and despicable character. Yet even he was desirous of 
emulating the princely munificence of his neighbours, and began the 
building of a splendid palace, which was completed by the Gonzaghi. 
His daughter Ludovica is a strange and interesting figure in the 
history of the times, a curious mixture of vices and virtues. Rich, 

I,UI)()\'ICA l-ORI'-JLI 17 

generous, enterprising, licentious, capricious, she was famous for her 
masculine intellect and superb beauty, her virulent hatreds, and no 
less violent affections. Upheld by the Guastallese, she crushed the 
innumerable plots hatched against her power, finally selling her 
state to Ferrante Gonzaoa, the highest bidder.' 

The ill-disposed declared that the good and evil in her were alike 
disastrous in their results. Lodovico Castelvetro gives a curious 
account of her fantastic interpretation of the platonic philosophy in its 
bearing on the relations of the sexes. He may perhaps have 
exaggerated. It is certain, however, that while, on the one hand, 

1 t;. B. Bonamati, htoria chlla Citta di Giias/al/a. (Parnia, 1674.) 


she was occupied with schemes for the perfection of the race, on the 
other, she had her rooms decorated with unseemly pictures, delighted 
in licentious literature, and was greatly addicted to hunting, dancing, 
and " every kind of worldliness." 

Later we find her suddenly converted, as so often happens in the 
case of women whose youth has been stormy. All her eccentric 
energy now found an outlet in religious exercises. She burnt her 
books of romance and poetry, destroyed her obscene pictures, 
renounced balls, concerts, and everything in which she had once 
delighted, and gave herself up to the most rigorous manifesta- 
tions of penitence. She had her hair cut into the form of a 
cross, and clothed herself in strange garments that provoked the 
mirth and gibes of spectators. But the spirit of the Renaissance was 
still throbbing within her. She built the fine church of S. Paolo in 
Milan, was lavish alike in works of mercy and donations of art 
treasures, and founded an institution for noble maidens reduced to 

Other Torelli are to be met with higher up the Enza, among the 

turreted buildings of Montechiarugolo, whence issued Barbara, the 

flower of beauty and culture, and whither came, about 1500, 

la nutrita 

Daniigella Triviilzio al sacro speco.^ 

In this passage Ariosto compliments the wife of Francesco Torelli 
on her training in the sacrtxl retreat of the Muses ; Jacopo Caviceo 
further declares her to have been learned in Greek and Latin, and 
Nicola Pacediano tells us she excelled as a singer. Her absorption 
in such studies did not, however, prevent her from dealing very 
competently with affairs of state in her husband's absence, nor from 
giving cUie attention to those of her family.- 

On the banks of the Arda, in the valley of Piacenza, on a spot 
when; a cluster of poor hovels had grouped themselves together and 
adopted the name Cortemaggiore, Gian Lodovico Pallavicino settled 

' Orhoido Fiin'oso, xlvi. 4. 

- Amadio Ronchini, DamixM, Triviilzio Torelli. {At/i <■ nwmorie ddk R. R. 
JJcfiiihizioni di s/oria patria dell' Emilia.) New series, vol. vii., I'ail 2, y. 229. 
(Modena, 1882.) 


in 1479 with II few families from Busseto, and erected a fortress, 
the nucleus of this territory, in which afterwards rose the magnifi- 
cent churches of the Annunziata and of Santa Maria della Nativita 
delle Grazie. Gian Lodovico's son Orlando, called " The Hunch- 
back " — "illustrious for his learning and his saintly manners" 
—carried on the paternal tradition, extending and beautifying his 
domain by the erection of buildings with /oo-ou'^ and the laying out of 
open spaces. He finished the church his father's piety had begun, 
founded the confraternity of the Misericordia, installed the Minorites 

in the Annunziata, and presented it with a library. He further added 
a chapel to their temple, which was afterwards decorated by Por- 
denone, and in 1502 he summoned Benedetto Dolcibelli from Carpi 
to set up a printing-press for books. ^ 

Such, to say nothing of many others, were the persons who 
nourished in the Emilia shortly before the birth of Correggio and 
throughout his life. To-day, alas ! the wanderer who passes through 
the little cities we have described is oppressed by a sense of deep 
melancholy. Their streets are silent and deserted ; every memorial 

1 Ircneo Affb, Mciitoru df::^!i so-itlori pannigiani, vol. iii,, y. 72. (Parma, 1791.) 


of glory, every trace of splendour has vanished. Mournfully he calls 
up visions of the past, dwelling on the days when so many princes, 
poets, and artists thought and laboured in the cause of culture, and 
when the most gifted flocked thither to admire and be admired, 
forming such ideal consistories as those pictured by Dante in his 

description of Limbo, or 
by Raphael in his Sc/iool 
of Athens. 

How glorious was 
that spiritual spring-time ! 
While, on the one hand, 
Francia and his scholars 
were multiplying their 
sweet conceptions of the 
Virgin Mother in the 
city of the Bentivogli, its 
University harboured the 
subtle and learned Eras- 
mus of Rotterdam, and 
Copernicus discussed the 
new astronomical lore with 
Novara within its walls. 
From his professorial 
chair, Pomponaccio sug- 
gested those experimental 
essays which gave such 
" a mighty impetus to 
natural science." At Fer- 


gave rein to that noble 
and ])rolific fancy which created the Homeric conflicts of Rinaldo 
and Ruggero, and the terrific frenzy of Orlando, weaving into 
his marvellous poem the figures to which Boiardo had already 
given life. Antonio Tebaldeo trained the intelligent scions of the 
house of Kste in all the refinements of literary knowledge, the most 


brilliant of his pupils being, perhaps, that Isabella, whose versatile 
genius and fascinating grace became the glory of the Mantuan 
Court, where Mantegna, Lorenzo Costa, and Giulio Romano shone 
successively, where Bernardo Tasso found poetic inspiration, and 
Baldassarre Castiglione his perfect type of the high-born lady. 

It was an age marked by a magnificent outburst of thought and 
fancy; by a long series of victories in the domain of art and science ; 
by a superb efiflorescence of positive truths, and poetic creations 
hanlly less real and vital ; by a sumptuous gallantry of manners 
never before imagined ; by a scrupulous care of the person, which 
manifested itself in the wearing of rich and beautiful apparel, and 
in the study of a decorous and classic fitness of bearing, appropriate 
to every kind of pageantry, to pastimes, tournaments, and martial 
conflicts. Hundreds of artists laboured for the satisfaction of this 
refined elegance. Everywhere were to be found architects, painters, 
sculptors, medallists, goldsmiths, weavers of silk and arras, armoLU'ers, 
potters, musicians, men of letters, jesters, and buffoons. 

The universal passion for art became so strong and all-powerful 
that it permeated every action, and found expression even in the most 
dramatic moments of life. Fieravante worked in Bologna at the 
palace of the Anziani while besiegers were bombarding the city and 
bringing down great blocks of stone in the piazza. Forgetful of his 
own danger, his one fear was the destruction of the building he 
was labouring to adorn. ^ 

In the ruthless war waged upon him by his more powerful 
neighbours, the Sforzi, Pier 

Maria Rossi lost castle after ^ ■• - 

castle and territory after /:' -'jr-m *^ 

territory. Old, feeble, and /'/ ^ /f \ ^ /' 

broken, he became hope- f — > ■'^ ' \ 

lessly infirm at San Secondo. ~ '^j^^>>/ 

In his fallen state he asked medal of iiek maria k, 

to be carried thirty kilo- 
metres in a litter, to that fortress of Torchiara he had built from 
1 Archivio storico delF arte, vol. iv., \^\^. 104-105. (Rome, 1891.) 


his own designs, and to be placed in the Golden Chamber, where 
he had Hved and loved with Bianca Pellegrini, and where her image 
looked down upon him from walls and ceilings. There, lulled by 
those images of love and beauty, he closed his eyes upon the 
world. ^ 

Reviled and anathematised by his citizens, and hunted down by 
Julius II., a pope who had more faith in the temporal than in the 
spiritual sword, Giovanni Bentivoglio fled from Bologna, with his wife 
and children. The former took refuge at Busseto, near Parma ; the 
others dispersed in various directions. 

The unhappy couple bore up heroically under their misfortunes, 
the ruin of their power, and the downfall of their dynasty. But a final 
calamity was reserved for them. 

Ercole Marescolti, inflamed with a ferocious joy in that hour of 
vengeance, led the mob upon the palace of the Bentivogli, his 
uplifted sword in one hand, a bundle of wood in the other, inciting 
them to the destruction of the splendid building. His rallying cry 
was this : " To prevent the vulture's return, we must destroy his 
nest." Eager for pillage, the crowd followed him gladly, and the 
work of destruction was continued for an entire month, until the 
whole was reduced to a smouldering heap of ruins. When 
Giovanni, who was then seventy years old, heard the news, he 
bowed the proud head which nothing else had bent. The tears 
dimmed his eyes. All was over for him, since his enemies had 
plucked away from him even his dream of artistic glory, leaving 
nothing to bear witness to the splendour of his house. He wrote to 
his wife, upbraiding her for his ruin, and causing her such anguish 
that she died of the shock, if, indeed, she did not strangle herself, as 
some writers have asserted.- 

' A. rezzana, Sloria Ji Paniia, vol. iv., p. 291. (Parma, 1852.) At ]3. 300; The 
luritcr who continued the Chronicle of Giovanni del Giudice relates that Pier Maria's 
body 7vas embalmed, and placed in a sitting posture in the Golden Chamber of the fortress 
of Torchiara, attired in a habit of g^olden brocade, and that it remained there for a 
long time. 

2 Giov. (iozzadini, op. cil., and JJi alaiiii avvcnimeiiti in Bologna c nelp Emilia dal 
1506 al 151 1, I'art i. Jiologna, 1SS6. 


Parmigianino, anotluT Archimedes, worked quietly away wliile the 
sack of Rome was raging round him. The astonished Lanzknechts 
surprised him in his studio painting a group of smiHng children.^ 

Even in the most impassioned moments, when men are naturally 
prone to forget all adventitious things, the love of the beautiful 
manifested itself side by side with the more tender emotions. 
Federico Catanei relates that when Francesco Maria della Rovere, 
Duke of Urbino, went to Mantua to meet Eleanor Gonzaga, the bride 
who had been married to him by proxy, he put his arm about her 
neck, and kissed her in the presence of the whole Court, then con- 
ducted her to a seat, and "discoursed with her of painting."- 

Biit this spiritual Hame, which blazed in so many hearts and so 
many cities, was not destined to burn for long. By the middle of the 
sixteenth century it had died down on many altars, and on many 
others had begun to flicker and languish. Thus, upon the hills that 
rise along the Emilian highway may be seen, on the evening of 
some festival, a thousand lights sparkling amidst thousands of joyful 
acclamations. At hrst they burn in close and vivid clusters ; gradually 
they become more scattered and less brilliant ; presently, only an 
occasional glimmer strikes the eye ; and finally night sinks upon 
darkness and silence. 

1 Giorgio Vasari, Le vite dei pii) eccdlciiti pi/tori, sciiltori eJ architetti : a ana di 
Gaetano Milaiiesi, vol. v., p. 225. (Florence, 18S0.) 

"- A. Luzio and R. Renier, Mantova c Urhino : Isabella d' Esh- c Elhahetta Gonzag^a, 
p. 187. (Turin, 1893.) 

Parma ) 




commonly known as Cor- 
reggio, was worthy of 
the iortune which decreed his 
birth in the fair region we have 
described, at the most brilliant 
period of the Renaissance. To 
understand the nature of his 
genius and his character we 
must endeavour to re-create his 
environment, and recompose that 
"historic atmosphere" in which 
his birth and development took 
place, and in which his life-work 
was accomplished. 
By some he has been most unjustly represented as an isolated 
phenomenon in art, and a melancholy misanthri)i)e by nature. This 


misconception was due, not only to impciicct knowledge, but [)erhaps 
in a still greater degree to the old i)iographical methods, which 
loved to represent those whose mental stature was above that of the 
herd as living in a world apart, and divorced from all participation 
in the life around them. ' Falling into an opposite extreme to that 
of the classic writers who imputed human weaknesses to their gods, 
they insisted on treating their heroes as privileged beings, unaffected 
by those passions which governed the actions of their fellow-mortals. 
Biographers, poets, and romancers in fact treated them much as did 

the sculptors who reproduced their forms and features in marble. 
They placed them on isolated pedestals, almost as if they alone 
had lived at a given time and place ; and only when impelled by 
the hard necessities of narrative, did they record that certain persons 
moved in the same orbit as their heroes, and participated to 
some extent, if not in their lofty genius, at least in their habits and 

At thc! best, exceptions have been made to this method of treatment 
in the case of women beloved by great men ; but even here it has been 
thought essential to improve upon realities. Thus, many a petulant 



damsel, and many a humble maiden, perhaps all unconscious of their 
mission as inspiring Muses, have been converted into ideal figures, 
symbolic types of virtue and intellect, modelled on the pattern of a 
Beatrice or a Laura. If the great artists of the Renaissance could 
make themselves heard in exposition of their own life-romances, who 
can say what they might reveal to us of the perplexities and vexations 
in which their womenkind had involved them, or how many romantic 
inventions would melt into air ! Raphael would assure us, no doiibt, 
that his love for the Fornarina was a sentimental fable, and Andrea 
del Sarto would sigh forth his conviction that the lovely Lucrezia 
del Fede was a termagant ! 

The isolating process has been perhaps more severely applied to 
Correggio than to any other Italian artist. He has hitherto been 
described as a genius whose spontaneous development was accom- 
plished without the aid of masters, the encouragement of friends, 
the support of patrons ; lonely as Adam before he was given the 
companion who lost him his Paradise, or as Saladin in Dante's Limbo ! 

Some indeed have gone so far as to assert that " Correggio 
belonged to a humble peasant family of a lonely and remote district 
in Lombardy, and grew up without any instruction in his art." A 
lady whose imposing volume on Correggio has received the honours of 
translation states that the artist first saw the light, " far from the 
brilliant and multiform world of his day, in an obscure village of 
the I'Imilia." ^ 

The city of Correggio was certainly no such humble and poverty- 
stricken hamlet in the days of Antonio Allegri, even to judge from 
the accounts of Tirabosrhi,- Pungileoni,^ and other biographers down 
to Meyer, whose work on Correggio is the most valuable of the 
series.'' And we may venture to say that these writers, in spite of the 

1 Marghcrita Albana Mignaty, J.a vita c Ic opar del Ccr/ri^g/n, chap. xi. Paris, 
1 88 1, and Florence, i8S8. 

■- Girolamo Tiraboschi, BihliokLa Modciicst-, vol. vi. Modena. 1786. biographical 
sketch of Correggio, ]ip. 234-302. 

■■' Luigi Pungilconi, M^t-moric istoridic di Anloiiio Allt-;^ri, delta il Carreggia. 'IMiree 
vols. Parma, 1817-1821. 

■I Julius Meyer, Carreggia. Leipzig, 1S71. 


abundant sources oi' information at their disposal, were unwilling or 
unable to profit by their advantages so far as to establish the im- 
portance of the Court of Correggio, and the intellectual activity of 
its territory, factors in themselves amply sufficient to promote and 
foster the growth of genius. 

A house such as that of the Correggeschi, who had been 
established in the city from about a.d. iooo, who, after consolidating 
their power internally, had extended it into the neighbouring territory, 
and whose political sagacity and military prowess had made them 
for a time the masters of Parma and Guastalla, is not likely 
to have been sunk in poverty and obscurity at the period of greatest 
intellectual vigour the state had known, nor to have suffered itself 
to be completely eclipsed by other families flourishing at the various 
Italian courts in its immediate vicinity. We find, in fact, that while 
the daughters of the Correggeschi were sought in marriage by the 
Scaligeri, the Carrari, the Boiardi, 

etc., their sons found wives rM ffi-BFi»?''i^gy^'.^yii 
among the Visconti, the Gon- y.'.!''' "^^ ■ ', ' '' " 

zaghi, the Estensi, the Rangoni, r^'-^,./ ^'V"' • ■ 

and many others no less famous. fv'. , , ~T~. • J 

Throughout the course of two ii|'/' ^ ' ,- 

centuries the power of the Cor- „i'^, 

reggeschi had been built up with " . .; rr^. 

commendable valour and energy; 

but it was not until the beginning '^■^■■"al m. a "'-'^^^^ ^^ ''■ "■^^^'~|_"'^" '" '-'"'■■■" 
of the fourteenth century, when 

Giberto was proclaimed Lord of Parma, that their achievements 
culminated, and won a place in history. It is true that Giberto did 
not long retain his grasp on the new state, for that perilous and 
stormy age was unfavourable to stable and enduring forms of govern- 
ment. That he was not lacking in courage we may gather from 
the fact that after his expulsion by the Guelfs, he shortly returned 
to the city, regaining a temporary dominion in the intervals of fierce 
struggles with the Rossi and Sanvitali. It was during one of these 
brief spells of victory that he gained the battle of 1341, celebrated b)- 


Petrarch in one of his Cairsoni. Giberto had made the poet's 
acquaintance at Avignon, and afterwards bestowed an archdeaconry 
upon him, in recognition of which favour Petrarch dedicated the 
treatise Dc remediis iitriusqite for'tuntr to him. His subsequent sale of 
Parma to the Visconti is certainly a somewhat inglorious passage in 
the story of his career ; but such traffic in cities and subjects was 
common in those days, and it W'Ould be unjust, in this age of higher 
and purer standards of political morality, to regard it as an indelible 
stain upon his character. Parma had her compensation two centuries 
later, when Correggio sent her him the splendour of whose art atoned 
for ancient bitternesses. 

By the close of the fifteenth century the house of the Correg- 
geschi had become powerful, no less by its own prowess than by 
virtue of the protection it enjoyed from various great princes and 

Borso, a man of war and of counsel, who acted as captain for a 
variety of great nobles, was wounded at Argenta, fighting for the 
Estensi against the Venetians He then went as envoy from Lodovico 
il Moro to Matthias King of Hungary, and was his counsellor in 

Giberto, Borso's brother, was in his turn protected by the 
Venetians, who admitted him into the league they had made with 
the Duke of Milan, Florence, and Ferrara against the Pope and the 
King of Naples. He was therefore compelled in 147S to take 
arms against .Sixtus IV. in Tuscany, on the occasion of the Pazzi 

These two illustrious soldiers, Borso and Giberto, ruled the 
destinies of Correggio in 1494, the supposed birth-year of Antonio 
Allegri. We have no definite proofs of the authenticity of this date ; 
but the indirect evidences of a number of documents combine to attest 
it. Almost every biographer of the painter's who has accepted it, 
from Ratti downwards, relied unhesitatingly upon the mural inscription 
under the outer portico of the monastery of San Francesco at 
Correggio. This positively declares that the jjainter died in 1534 at 
the age of forty ; but we know that the inscription itself dates only 


from 1647, when it was cut at the expense of one (lirolamo Conti, a 
doctor of laws, living- in Rome.' 

It should be observed that the framer of the inscription states 
as a fact what Vasari assumes with a certain amount of hesitation. 
Correggio, says the latter, died " at the age of about forty." Various 
documents hearing on the subject, however, almost certainly point to 
1494 as the year of the artist's birth, and hence we may not unreason- 
ably suppose that Vasari had some sufficient grounds for his 
assumi)tion, which he based perhaps on the statement of some one 
who had known the painter in Parma, perhaps on its general accept- 
ance in his day. The mere fact that no confirmatory document is 
now extant cannot be held sufficient to discredit his testimony. 
Girolamo Gualdo, in a description of the Garden of Clia Giiaido, says 
that Allegri died at the age of forty ; but he evidently repeats the 
statement of Vasari. - 

The indirect proofs which incline us to accept what we may call the 
traditional date are to be found in two documents, one of August 30, 
1514, the other of February i, 1519." In the latter Correggio is 
described as cgnj^io ct discrcto juvcnc, a term then generally applied 
to a man who had not yet passed his twenty-fifth year. The deduction 
would, of course, be of little value without further support. But in 
the first of the two documents, a deed engaging Correggio to execute 
the picture now in the Dresden Gallery for the convent of San Fran- 
cesco, the youthful painter pledges himself to perform the work 
" cut// consensu cms pafris piYcsciifisy * He was therefore a minor. 

It may be urged that the testimony of these two documents also 
admits of the further contention that Correggio was born after 1494. 
But, as we shall see, the quality of the very work under discussion 
precludes such an idea ; it is sufficiently astonishing that the picture 
should have been painted by a youth of barely twenty. 

On the other hand, we learn that he was present on July 14, 

1 C. G. Ratti, No/hic sforidic c s/'/nv/r intonio la vita e Ic open- di Antonio At/,\i;n 
{Fitiale, 1781). 

2 Bernardo Morsolin, // Miiseo Gualdo in Viccnza. Descrizionc fatta da Girolamo 
Gualdo nel 1650. N'liovo Ardiivio Vencto. vol. viii.. ])art i. Venice, 1894. 

■' Pungileoni, ii. p. 127. ^ Op. cit. ii. ]). 67. 


1517, at the reading of Giovanna da Montecorvino's will, and the 
nature of the act did not admit of minors among the witnesses.^ 

After this it would be superfluous to quote other documents of 
later date, in which we find the father no longer intervening on his 
son's behalf in the contracts entered into by the painter. Nor will it 
be of much interest to note that on January 12, 151 1, he stood 
sponsor to an infant of the Vigarini family, named Antonio, for, as 
is well known, children were competent to undertake this office from 
about the age of ten. 

Many evidences, however, point to the conclusion that the painter 
was born in 1494 ; and if this be indeed the fact, his advent may be 
looked upon as in some sense a compensation to the Emilia for the 
heavy loss she sustained in the same year by the deaths of Boiardo, 
Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, and Marco Pio. 

If there be any who wish to raise a further question as to his 
birthplace, they may quote the statement of Padre Resta, who asserts 
that Allegri was born at a short distance from Correggio, in the 
Castello di San Martino, where his father owned a few acres of land. 
There is absolutely no foundation for this assertion, opposed as it is 
not only to the evidences of all contemporary documents, wherein the 
artist is constantly spoken of as a native of Correggio, but to the very 
surname he derived from his birthplace. Some writers have therefore 
conjectured that the Padre confused the painter with one Antonio da 
Correggio, who was parish priest of San Martino at a much later 

The father of our painter was called Pellegrino ; he named his son, 
as was usual, after his own father. We do not know the meaning of 
the additional name Dovian given to Pellegrino in contemporary 
records,^ in reference to which a piece of land belonging to him at San 
Martino was known as La Dojuana? Some suppose it to have 
signified Domani (to-morrow) and to have been derived from his 
frequent use of the word. The painter's mother was one Bernardina 

' Meyer, p. i to. 

- Pungileoni, i. j). 5 and ii. p. 251, V. Mngnanini, Cotidiziotd economiclK del Correggio, 
p. 95 (Correggio, 1886). "Peregrine de Alcgris alias dicto Doman." 

■' Op. at. p. 128. 


Pia/zoli, or degli Aromani, who broug-lit her husband as dowry a 
hundred liir of the Corrcggese currency. Brunorio, to whom we 
are indebted for this information, does not give us any hint as to 
the date of their marriage.^ Such an indication would have been of 
great value, as determining in a measure the date of birth of their 
only son. 

The tradition that the Allegri family came originally from a fortified 
village of Campagnola called Castellazzo rests on a certain historic 
basis.- The mere statement that persons bearing the name of Allegri 
were known there so early as the first half of the fourteenth century 
is of little importance, for families of this name were also to be found 
in other districts. P)Ut the probability of the legend is very much 
increased when we read that Castellazzo was demolished in 1371 for 
strategic reasons, and that its inhabitants lied to Corrcggio.^ It 
is true that some historians attribute its destruction to Ambrogio 
Visconti, Bernabo's lieutenant, and others to Guido of Correggio. 
But they all agree as to the date and the place of migration, and 
the fact that the suppressed commune came under the jurisdiction of 
Correggio the following year, together with the further fact that after 
this period no Allegri are to be traced in Campagnola, whereas they 
are to be found flourishing in Correggio, forces us to recognise a 
substratum of truth in the tradition. 

We are not inclined to lay much stress on the conjectures of writers, 
who trace our artist's pedigree back to a certain Allegro, flourishing 
under the Countess Matilda, or to one Pietro di Allegro of Reggio. 
The theory which refers the family origin to Campagnola seems to us 
a much more probable one, and accepting it, we find the earliest notice 
of Correggio's ancestry in the year 1329. Pungileoni, anxious to 
prove that they belonged from the first to the city of Correggio, 

1 Gherardo l.^irunorio, Lcltcra suit ori;^iiu\ s/a/i>, e condizione del fanwsissimo pit/ore 
A. A. chiamato volgarmaitc il Correggio (Bologna, 1716). This work was rei)ioduced 
by Nicola Tacoli, under the name of Abbot Carlo Talcnti. {Memon'e storiche di 
Reggio di Lombardia.) Part iii., p. 495, el seq. Carpi, 1769. 

- The tradition was accepted by Brunorio, Antonioli. and Ratti, but afterwards 
rejected by Tiraboschi, Tungileoni, &c. 

3 Fr. Sansovino. Deir originc e dei falti delle famiglie illustri d' Italia, p. 274. 
(Venice, 1582,) Magnanini, \<. 92. 


affirmed, without, however, producing any documents, that according 
to a deed drawn up by one Corradino Corradini, a certain Allegro took 
the oath of fealty to the Lords of Correggio in 1329. But it must be 
borne in mind that Brunorio, dealing with the same date, declared that 
the name of one Allegro d'Antonio occurred in the book, now no 
longer extant, of the vassals and subjects of the Lords of Correggio, 
among those inhabitants of Campagnola, who, according to a deed of the 
same notary, swore allegiance to Giberto. It is evident that the same 
Allegri is referred to in both cases. The first person, however, to 
whom we can assign a place in the genealogical tree with any degree 
of certainty is one Giacomo, who flourished about 1440. All attempts 
to trace its earlier ramifications will land us in a maze of pure con- 
jecture. For the rest, we have no desire to deal minutely with the 
painter's kinsfolk and family connections for the mere pleasure of 
transcribing barren lists of forgotten names. ^ Those of his relatives 
who came into direct or indirect contact with him will emerge from 
obscurity in the course of our narrative. We must not, however, omit 
to refer to a document hitherto ignored by all writers on Correggio, 
which not only informs us that a branch of the Allegri took root in 
Bolognese soil, but also adds eight names to the family pedigree. 
In June, 1479, Cristoforo, son of the Giacomo above-mentioned, and 
brother of our painter's grandfather, took up his abode in the State 
of Bologna with his wife Orsolina, and his children, Giberto, 
Francesco, Elisabetta, Antonio, Giovanni IMaria, Clemente, Antonia, 
and Pellegrina.- 

The house in which Correggio was born was in the quarter known 
as the Borgo Vccchio, and stood it appears, on land belonging to 

' The genealogical tree compiled by Michele Antonioli is given by Magnanini, p. 57. 

- Archives of the State of Bologna. — Section of the Commune. — Order of Registration 
and Presentation of Strangers. — Rejiort as to Strangers domiciled in Bologna. Sec vol. 
of 1475 'o 1601. " Eodem millesino (1476) die quartadecima junii Christoforus quondam 
Jacobi de Alegris de Corigio forensis et laborator terrarum qui ut asseruit de novo venit 
ad civitatem Bononie, causa habitandi in comitatu aut guardia eiusdem et ibidem opera 
rusticalia exercendi cum infrascripta sua familia videlicet, Ursolina eius u.Kore, Giberto, 
Francischo, Elisabet, Anthonio, Johannc Maria, Clemente, Anthonia, Pellegrina eius 
filiis. Comparuit coram mc Enoch, \-c. Actum ut sui)ia jircscntibus Jacobo quondam 
Thome de Montcclaro bonon . rive . qui dixit etc. et Scr I'rancischo de Oleo notario 
testibus, etc." 


the Pia Socicta dci W-rbcrati di Sanla Maria, to whom [xji-taincd the 
ground-rent of seven so/di of the ancient coinage. It was, perhaps, 
one of those buih at the close of the fourteenth century for the accom- 
modation of the fugitive Campagnolese, for the Borgo J'ccc/iio was an 
addition to the city necessitated by their immigration. IJrunorio saw 
in this an additional argu- 
ment for the theory that 
the Allegri were originally 
natives of Campagnola. 
But the house only came 
into their hands in May, 
1446, being then purchased 
by Jacopo, who repaired 
and enlarged it four years 
later.i Even then it re- 
mained a very humble 
dwelling. When in 15(4 
the emissaries of the con- 
vent of San Francesco pre- 
sented themselves to give 
the order for their famous 
picture, they were obliged 
to carry on their negotia- 
tions with the painter in 
his bed-room ad tei'rcnuin. nv^"^ u,. nu; alleoki at cuukeou.u. 

It is worthy of remark that 

he worked and slept in the same room, a room on the ground lloor, 
which in that district is always damp and unhealthy. 

A further enlargement was made by the acquisition of a small 
adjoining house, bought from one Ippolita .Scaltriti for twenty- five 
ducats in the April of 1529, at which date the painter was making 
considerable sums by his work, and might well have afforded himself 
a more comfortable dwelling. But he loved his paternal home, and 
in his humility he never perhaps thought of (putting it. His grand- 
' Fungileoni, ii. p. 274, and Magnanini, [>[). 24 and 59. 



parents and parents had spent their Hves under its roof ; there he had 
himself first seen the hght ; there the vision of art had first dawned 
upon him ; and there, still a young man, he ended his days. The 
house so dearly loved by him should have been a sacred and precious 
heritage to his son. But the thought that he had lived and died and 
produced his marvellous works within its walls was not sufficient in- 
ducement to his heir to preserve it. In December, 1550, it was sold 
to Gherardino Paris. ^ The enumeration of the different rooms in which 
Alessandro Paris the notary, son of Gherardino, drew up his acts, ac- 
cording to the season of the year, gives some idea of the limited 
accommodation of the house. In the winter he worked in the bed- 
chamber or ab igm\ that is to say, in the kitchen ; in warm weather he 
established himself under the porch at the entrance, on the lobby of the 
staircase, or on a little upper loggia which had existed in the painter's 
time. In 1572 Paris declared his intention of leaving the house to the 
College of Notaries at Correggio, on condition of their undertaking 
certain specified work.- But twenty years later, either because he had 
changed his mind or the notaries had failed to satisfy his demands, he 
decided, in default of direct heirs, to bequeathe it to the Hospital of 
Santa Maria, the almoners of which sold it to Ranuccio Sogari 
for a hundred and seventy scudi in 1625.' Early in the eighteenth 
century the front part fell down, causing great damage to several 
adjoining cottages. 

The history of our painter's home may be said to end here, but 
to avoid the necessity of further reference thereto, we may add the 
ground on which it stood, and the portion of the building still intact, 
were bought by P'rancesco Contarelli, who cleared away the rubbish 
from the space in front, and made the little Piazza dcllc case hnicialc 
{bund houses), afterwards known as the Piazzale Allegri. P^rom 
the Contarelli the Piazzale passed into the possession of the body 
known as the Coiiqrcgazioiic di Carita, and thence to a society 
of gentlemen of Correggio, who bought it to ensure its preservation, 
and presented it si.xteen years later to the niunici[)ality. 

The meanness of this tlwidling has often been adduced to confute 
' Tiraboschi, p. 2.)o. - Magnanini, ji. 21. ■' Op. dl. p. 28. 


llif armimcnts of those who assert Corregoio to have lived in easy 
and conifortahle circumstances, and to sui)[)ort tht; lej^cndary storie^s 
of his extreme poverty. We shall have occasion to touch on this point 
further on in considering- the character of oin- painter. I?ut we 
may remark in passing that the modest dwelling was hy no means 
poverty-stricken at the time of the artist's hirth. In the Allegri 
hou.sehold, squalor and luxury were alike unknown. It was therefore 
easy for critics to go from one; extreme to another, and we can readily 
understand how, after stories had long been current setting forth the 
semi-starvation endured by the painter and his kinsfolk, the first 
appearance of documents which proved them to have been the 
possessors of houses and lands, caused an exaggerated revulsion of 
opinion. Gherardo Brunorio, relying upon the Allegro mentioned in 
the Countess Matilda's Charter of i 109, would fain have proved them 
not only rich, but of noble birth. The fact that one of Correggio's 
daughters married a Brunorio accounts for this little weakness on 
the part of the good Gherardo, who seems to have forgotten that 
greater lustre was shed on the family by the painter's glory than by 
problematical descent from a vassal of the Countess Matilda. 

Cristoforo Allegri, that brother of Correggio's grandfather who, as 
we have seen, settled on Bolognese territory in 1476, is called, in 
the archivial document above quoted, a tiller of the soil, and a person 
occupied in rustic labours. This shows the Allegri to have been 
originally peasants, whose industry enabled them to acquire small plots 
of land and work them on their own account. The branch which settled 
in Corrcggio succeeded in exchanging their old calling of agriculturists 
for one less arduous, and greatly improved their social condition. 

In his will, dated 14S5, Correggio's grandfather left a considerable 
addition to the property of his father Jacopo, and altogether raised the 
position of the family. His son Lorenzo was a painter, and thus to the 
products of the land at Ponte Sanguineto he was able to add the fruits 
of his art. 

Correggio's father, Pellegrino, appears from contemporary evidences 
to have been a man of unusual resource and energy. Whilst busily 
engaged in his own trade as a victualler and petty manufacturer, he was 


also buying land, and watching over the interests of the son whose 
labours were of such a different nature. 

We do not propose to give a detailed account of the various small 
purchases made by Pellegrino, or of the lands he rented from different 
owners, several other writers having made a special study of these 
details. It may be briefly stated that Pellegrino's property, swelled by 
the earnings of his son, and the dowry of his son's wife, Girolama 
Merlini, consisted towards 1534 of some hundred and twenty Reggian 
acres scattered over the commune of Fabrico, and the districts of 
iMandrio, Mandriolo, Fosdondo, S. Prospero, S. Biagio, and S. Martino, 
the whole forming an inheritance by no means to be despised in those 
days. When Pellegrino made his will in 153S, he was in a position to 
give his grandchild, the daughter of our painter— then fourteen years 
old — a dowry of two hundred and forty gold saidi, a very considerable 
portion at that period. He also made various other bequests of some 
value, among them one of twenty gold scudi to a female servant.^ 

A governor of Parma, Alessandro Caccia, wrote to the Duke of 
Mantua five months after the death of Correggio : " I hear he has 
made comfortable provision for his heirs." 

In these two words, "comfortable provision," the worthy governor 
defines the social status of the Allegri family better than all the 
biographers who exaggerated its wealth on the one hand, or its poverty 
on the other. 

1 Tiraboschi, p. 239. Pungileoni, i. pp. 5, 6, 74, 152; ii. pp. 210, 227, 231, &c. 
Magnanini, pp. 15, 70, 95, 119 et seq. Tiraboschi quotes a letter written from Correggio, 
signed with the assumed name of Pieter Rans, of Berne, dealing with the true origin 
and condition of the painter {Op. at. p. 235). Pellegrino's will was published by 
Domenico Manni in his Osserf-asioni cina i sigi//i antichi, xxi.x. p. 91 ; Florence, 1784. 

Paolo at Parma ) 




ALL that biographers have 
written concerning the 
h'terary education of the 
youthful Antonio is purely ima- 
ginary. The good handwriting 
and excellent spelling of his 
autograph letters are sufficient 
evidence that his father had 
early entrusted him to some 
careful master. But here our 
knowledge ceases. Pungileoni was 
simply drawing on his powers of 
invention when he said: "Gio- 
vanni Rerni of Piacenza was the 
first person to instruct him in 
the elements of letters and Battista Marastoni of Modena was his 


guide to the retreats of the Muses and of eloquence." The discovery 
that these two masters were Hving at Correggio about the year 1500 
was sufficient ground for the fabrication of this statement, which rests 
on no better foundation than the kindred assertion that at a later 
date our painter '■ sought to enrich his mind by the study of 
philosophy, his instructor being the physician, Gian Battista Lom- 
bardi."^ If we further accept the statement of some that Correggio 
was also a student of mathematical science, we must believe our 
painter to have been a striking example of universal aptitudes ! But, 
unluckily, there are others who declare that he had no inclination 
for such studies, and that feeling himself strongly drawn towards art, 
he allowed his parents to grumble as they pleased at his neglect of 
other learning.- 

During his boyhood Correggio had many opportunities of meeting 
artists in his native place, and witnessed the completion of many 
famous works. 

The names of two painters only, Jacopo di Jodo and Giovanni 
Balducci, occur in Correggese records of the middle of the fifteenth 
century ; but immediately afterwards, throughout the latter part of the 
century, and the first twenty years of the succeeding one, we note the 
presence of a perfect phalanx of masters, whose activity shows most 
evidently how the spirit of the Renaissance had manifested itself at 
Correggio, what the importance of the city must have been, and how 
great the zeal of its princes for art and for the dignity of their court ; 
what, in short, was the atmosphere in which Correggio grew up and 
developed. Not only were painters busily at work there, but, as docu- 
ments and the surviving evidences of their industry alike tell us, 
weavers of tapestries and carpets, goldsmiths, sculptors, and architects. 
In the spacious lateral chapels of San Francesco, built by Manfredo 
and Agnese in 1470, there are capitals ornamented with sculptured 
angels and coats of arms, executed with admirable breadth and 

' Op. cit. i. pji. 7 and ig. Otiier writers give the name as Mnratori instead of 

2 Quirino Bigi, Delia vita c dcllc opcrc ccrk cd iinviic di Antonio Allci^ri dctto il 
Correggio, p. 4. Modena, 1880. 


sinci-rity. In l;uv documents of the years 1460 and 149S we read 
the names of Rinaldo Dure, of Flanders, a noted weaver of tapestries, 
who worked l)otli for the Estensi and the Gonzaghi ; of master Conto 
della Zinella of Trent, embroiderer, of Enrico of Lodi, designer, of 
Giacomo Piemontesio, magislcr rasoi-nm} These, with others, formed 
a school of experts, whose services were in request at many Italian 
Courts. In 1498 a certain Giovanni Cucchiari, iiiagisk'r pannorum 
rassc, working- at Ferrara, though really a native of Flanders, was 
there described as "of Correggio," because he came from that 
city, and had passed through its school.- Artists flocked thither 
from various States, in some cases from considerable distances. Among 
the painters were Bartolomeo di Giovanni and Francesco Angeli, 
both of Milan; Giovanni Battista of Lodi, Giovanni of Rubiera, 
Antonio Mangoni of Caravaggio, Bartolomeo, called Brasoii, the 
Ferrarese, Battista di Carlino di Bagnolo, Giovanni di Pietro, 
called // Rosso of Carbonara, and his son Sebastiano, and Ales- 
sandrino di Giovanni d'Arceto, whose labours brought them into 
frequent contact with native painters such as Antonio Bartolotti, 
Lorenzo and Ouirino Allegri, Baldassarre Lusenti, Giovanni di Pietro 
di Giovanni, Giberto Trombetta, Giberto di Ubicino, optiinus pictor, 
Master Latino, and Bernardo di Luchino, if indeed these last may be 
called Correggese artists. Two goldsmiths, father and son, Giovanni 
Antonio and Alessandro dei Cavallari, had come from Bologna." 
Among so many artists, some, no doubt, were good, many mediocre, 
and the majority bad. Nevertheless, the fact that they should have 
assemliled in this little city within such a short time is in itself 
sufficiently remarkable. 

Of some among them, indeed, we find favourable notices. Bernardo 
di Luchino must certainly be that Bernardo of Correggio who was 

' Pungileoni, ii. pp. 6-7. Quirino Bigi, Degli arazzieri e ricamatori di Correggio. 
Correggio, 1878. Bigi believed c-ertain tapestries now in the Town Hall to be works of 
the fifteenth century, and indulges in dissertations based on this belief They date, as a 
fact, from the end of the sixteenth, if not from the beginning of the seventeenth, century. 

2 Pierre Gentili. Sitr /'Art dc Tapis, p. ;,o. Rome, 1878. 

3 Pungileoni, ii. pp. 4-6 : iii. pp. i -2. ISigi, Notizie di Ant. Aiiegn, di Ant. Bartolotti, 
ecc, pii. 6-17. Modena, 1S73. 


painting the Anziani rooms at Reggio between 1501 and 1504,' and it 
is not improbable that Bartolomeo di Giovanni of Milan was that 
Bartolomeo dc Coreza who worked for the Counts of Novellara in 
1498. The fact of his being described as dc Coreza by no means tells 
against the hypothesis ; it was the custom for writers to distinguish 
an artist by the name of the place in which he generally lived, 
and from whence he came, as we have seen was actually done at 
Ferrara in a document of the same date referring to Giovanni of 

"The prudent master, Bartolomeo de Ferrara, known as Maestro 
Brasoii" was probably an artist of some merit. By his will, dated 
1509, he left his wife all his effects both at Ferrara and Correggio, 
charging her, however, to pay to the Church of San Domenico one 
gold ducat, in compensation for a crucifix he had failed to paint for 
them as agreed, and to give a certain stone for grinding colours to his 
assistant, together with the greater part of his wardrobe. He 
recovered, however, from the illness which prompted the drawing up 
of this will, in which he disposed of everything he possessed, down to 
his cap and slippers. We find that in 15 14 he was commissioned by 
the confraternity of Santa Maria to paint another crucifi.x, and to 
restore an image of St. Peter Martyr.- 

Baldassarre Lusenti painted a chapel of St. Ursula in fresco, 
for a noble and cultured nun of the convent of Corpus Domini, 
Isotta, daughter of the famous Nicolo da Correggio, a poetess of some 
talent. When Caterina Torelli, widow of Gian Pietro Gonzaga, deter- 
mined to decorate and beautify some of the rooms in her castle at 
Novellara, and, in particular, to prepare a private cabinet for Costanza, 
daughter of Giberto da Correggio, who went to Novellara as the bride 
of Alessandro Gonzaga, she employed several Correggese painters, 
among them Master Antonio and Master Latino. 

The accounts of expenses incurred by the Gonzaghi for the 
lodging of the "painters of Correza and their company" fix the date 
of their sc)journ at 1515 to 151S. It is much to be regretted that 

' Franc. Malaguzzi-Valcri, Notizie di ariisti reggiani^ p. 35. Reggio, 1S9J. 

2 G. Campori, Gli artisti italiani e stra/tkri tiegli slati esteitsi, p. 96. Modcna, 1855. 


nothing remains of the paintings executed by these masters in the 
Dominican monastery, the church and hospital of S. Antonio, the 
monastery of Corpus Domini, and the convent of the Capuchins. The 
one sample of their work still extant is a S/. Litcy of much grace and 
sweetness, near the entrance door of the north aisle, in the Capuchin 
Church of S. Francesco. 

In 1507, Francesca of Brandenburg, widow of Giberto da Correggio, 
built her magnificent palace. Even in its present ruined state, 

such fragments as the inner loggia, and the delicate reliefs of the outer 
door excite our admiration. In this palace, of which Correggio, in 
his boyhood witnessed the foundation, watched the gradual progress, 
and admired the final adornment with pictures and sculpture : here, 
where in his manhood he so often enjoyed the intellectual society of 
Veronica Gambara, a room, decorated with a broad frieze and a 
coftered ceiling, is still preserved. The ornament, a delicate tracery 



in chiaroscuro, relieved against a background of dark blue, is composed 
of figures of Neptune, repeated at intervals, and ingeniously combined 
with satyrs and sirens playing musical instruments, griffins, shields, and 
the date 1508. Certain features in the decoration clearly proclaim 
Mantegnesque influences, though some critics have maintained it to be 
purely Ferrarese in character. Be this as it may, we here recognise 
the hand of Cesare da Reggio, who, as soon as he had finished the 
decoration of this chamber, applied the same system of grotesques and 
chiaroscuro ornament to the vault and lunettes of the sacristy in the 
Church of San Giovanni Evangelista at Parma. 

The first place among all the painters we have mentioned is, 
however, unanimously accorded to Antonio Bartolotti degli Anceschi, 
called Tognino, whom many hold to have been Correggio's first 
master. Born shortly after 1450, he lived till 1527. We find notices 
of several works executed by him for the Franciscans and the Church 
of Santa Maria della Misericordia.^ It is therefore probable that the 
H/astcr Antonio who worked at the Castle of Novellara from 15 14 
to 1 5 18 was Bartolotti rather than Correggio. Their identity of 
names, however, makes it impossible to clear up this point, failing the 
evidence of further documents. A fresco, originally at Correggio, re- 
presenting the Virgin and Child with SS. Francis and Ouirinus and an 
angel, is now in the Estense Gallery at Modena, where it is tentatively 
ascribed to Bartolotti. During its various journeys from one church 
to another in Correggio, and thence in 1787 to Modena, the work 
suffered severely, although treated with every respect, and was already 
a ruin when in 1845 it was transferred to canvas.- It is therefore 
impossible to judge of its artistic character in relation to Correggio's 
early works, or to determine by its help how far the hypothesis that 
the youthful Allegri learnt the elements of painting from Bartolotti is 

No one, on the other hand, will be inclined to dispute the extreme 
probability of the assumption that as a child, Antonio, bent on 

' I'ungileoni, i. p. 18S; ii. ji. 27. Bigi, Notizic di Antonio Allegri e di Antonio 
Bartolotti, p. 6 et seq. 

2 Adolfo Venturi, La R. Galkria cstcnsc in Modena, p. 342 ct seq. Modena, 1883 


becoming a painter, may have made his first attempts to handle a 
brush in the family atelier, that in which his uncle Lorenzo and his 
cousin Ouirino were working. The contemplation of an art practised 
by those immediately surrounding them has often determined the early 
inclinations of children, and we constantly fmd the sons or nephews 
of painters and musicians becoming in their turn painters and 
musicians. Traditional talents manifest themselves not only in races, 
but in cities and families, and he who overlooks this fact robs his 
researches of a very useful aid to criticism. Even in the Emilia itself, 
we might illustrate the theory by native instances, such as those of the 
Loschi and the Mazzoli at Parma, the Francia family and the Carracci 
at Bologna, the Erri at Modena, the Dossi at Ferrara, the Longhi 
at Ravenna ! 

In considering the early training of Correggio, we must give due 
weight to the important fact that Lorenzo Allegri, his father's brother, 
was a painter. And it is natural to suppose that the two little cousins, 
Ouirino and Antonio, playmates from infancy, made their first emulous 
essays with brush and pencil side by side. 

Rinaldo Corso's playful assertion that Lorenzo Allegri " wishing to 
depict a lion, drew a goat, and wrote the title above it " ^ has been 
held sufficient proof that he could not possibly have taught the 
rudiments of his art to the little nephew who showed so precocious 
a passion for painting. Tiraboschi, relying on that common-sense 
criticism which is always the most persuasive, demands with great 
simplicity : " Now since he had an uncle, who was a painter, 
though perhaps a mediocre one, is it not probable that he learnt the 
rudiments of his art from him ?' - 

Though it must be admitted that among the many works carried 
out at this period, contemporary documents credit Lorenzo only with 
the humblest, we find by way of compensation, that in 1503 (when 
Correggio was nine years old), he painted the Cappella delle Indulgenze 
and a picture for the Church of .S. Francesco, the favourite place of 

' Dichiaraziouc faffa sufm la sccoiida parte dcllc Rime della divina Colonna, Man/iesa 
di Pescara, a//a Molto III. Mad. Vcronua Gainbara da CornxK'o f a lie donnc (^cntili 
dedicala. Bologna, 1 542-1 543. - Op. at. p. 245- 


worship of the lords of the clty.^ In the palace built by Count Giberto, 
a room was preserved till about the middle of the eighteenth century, 
in which was to be seen the coat of arms of the prince, together with 
that of the Lords of IMirandola, and a variety of frescoes and mytho- 
logical subjects, one of which was signed Laitrentins P. Pungileoni, 
after confessing that scarcely a vestige of these paintings remained in 
his time, hastens to add that he could not accept the piece in question 
as the work of Lorenzo ! Such a method of reasoning naturally leads 
to a somewhat lame conclusion ! 

Whether this was the work of Lorenzo or not, we may be permitted 
to ask if serious criticism is justified in dismissing an artist as incom- 
petent on the evidence, not of any sample of his work, but on that of 
a contemporary's hoii mot. Following such a precedent as this, 
we might, had the Divine Comedy perished, be now judging 
that great work by the dictum of Cecco d'Ascoli, who accused 
Alighieri of "croaking like the frogs." If none of Francia's 
sweet creations survived in churches and galleries for our delight, what 
idea should we have formed of his art, knowing nothing of him 
but that Michelangelo called him a blockhead, and said to one of his 
sons : " The living figures your father produces are better than those 
he paints ! " And, not to multiply instances, what opinion should we 
have of our Allegri himself, if all that remained to us of him were the 
traditional criticism of the Canon, who pronounced the paintings ot the 
cupola of the Cathedral at Parma " a hash of frogs " ? 

Lorenzo was certainly no great artist, but Rinaldo Corso's jest 
(which is almost a repetition of one of Vasari's), by no means forbids the 
assumption that he may have been the first to observe his nephew's 
aptitude, and to teach him to hold a pencil. Final results are due 
above all to personal gifts, and when great men recall their first 
masters, many among them may well smile as they think of the naive 
ignorance of those to whom, nevertheless, they owe their initiation 
into art, or letters or science. Lorenzo died in December, 1527. He 
therefore lived long enough to witness the full development of his 
nephew's genius. 

' I'ungileoni, i. pp. 14-15; »• I'l'- 4 ^'id 23- 


Yasari does not so much as allude to Correggio's masters, and it was 
not until the beginning of the seventeenth century that a passage inter- 
polated by Gian Battista Spaccini in the Modenese Chronicle of Tom- 
masino de' Bianchi, called de' Lancellotti, pronounced him the pupil of 
Francesco Bianchi-Ferrari. The statement, which was repeated by 
Vedriani in his History of Modena.^ gradually gained credence, and 
though contested by Tiraboschi,^ Pungileoni,'' and others, had, and 
continues to have, supporters. A well-known art-critic writes as 
follows : " This tradition rests on a firmer basis than is generally 
supposed, for if the statement was in the original Chronicle by 
Lancellotti which Spaccini copied, its evidence is indisputable ; and if it 
was interpolated by Spaccini at the close of the sixteenth century, the 
tradition must have gained ground early, and is in itself probable 
enough. It has been objected that Francesco Bianchi-Ferrari died in 
1 510, when Correggio was only sixteen, and that the Modenese 
painter could only have taught him the rudiments of his art. To this 
argument we may reply that the precocious development of the 
artists of our Renaissance is a matter of general knowledge, and 
further, that we are by no means certain that Correggio was only 
sixteen at this date, since, as Tiraboschi tells us, the year 1494 
is given as the date of his birth solely on the authority of the 
comparatively modern inscription at Correggio, which states that 
he died in 1534 at the age of forty." ^ Here criticism somewhat 
enlarges the boundaries in its own favour, instead of keeping strictly 
to fact. That Lancellotti never mentioned Bianchi-Ferrari as Cor- 
reggio's master is easily proved by examination of the codex of his 
Chronicle. In the absence of any tittle of evidence for such an 
argument it cannot plausibly be urged that there may have been 
other editions which have perished, especially when we bear in 
mind that Spaccini himself admitted having added notices both of 
facts and persons to the text.''' His own testimony is of little 

1 Lod. Vedriani, Historia dcW antiMssima citta di Modeiia, Part ii. p. 479. 
Modena, 1667. 

- Op. at. pp. 243 and 331. 3 Op. at. i. p. 12, and ii. p. 10. 

■* Adolfo Venturi, // pittor delle grazie, Nuova An/ologin, xxx. p. 239. Rome, 1S90. 

■' Tiraboschi, op. at. v. p. 136. 


weight, seeing that he flourished some two-thirds of a century after 
Bianchi-Ferrari. It now only remains to be seen whether, having 
regard to time, it was possible for Correggio to have been the pupil of 
the latter. The assumption that our artist was born about 1494 is 
based not merely on the inscription, but on the statement of Vasari, 
and, more important still, on the indirect confirmation of contemporary 
documents. The fixing of Correggio's birth at a date anterior to this 
might indeed give pleasure to those who are determined to make him 
the pupil of Bianchi-Ferrari, but certainly not to those whose aim 
is the elucidation of historical fact. Dates will already have been 
forced to their utmost limits if we concede that Correggio studied 
under the Modenese master at the age of sixteen. 

Lancellotti writes as follows: "On February 8, 15 10, Master 
Francesco di Biancho Frare, an accomplished painter and excellent 
man, died of an incurable malady, from which he had suffered for 
three months." ^ The fact of this long illness still further shortens the 
possible term of Correggio's pupilage. It is obvious that Correggio 
cannot have studied with him at Modena during his illness, and 
we must therefore suppose that he entered Bianchi's atelier some 
time before, as early, indeed, as 1508, when he was not sixteen, 
but only fourteen years old. Now with all due respect for modern 
criticism, and the precocity of the painters of the Renaissance, we 
cannot believe that Pellegrino Allegri and Bernardina Aromani would 
have sent this young boy, their only son, to Modena, to study the 
elements of drawing and painting when, as we have seen, they might 
have found plenty of masters for him in Correggio. The difficulty is 
greatly increased if we accept Morelli's theory that our painter went to 
Modena when he was about twelve, and that a year, or two years later, 
he entered the school of Francia at Bologna. He says : " Bianchi was 
the close friend of Francesco Francia and Lorenzo Costa, and must have 

' Tommasino de' Bianchi, called de' Lancellotti, Cronaca Modenese, vol. i. p. 77. 
Parma, 1862, The further hypothesis that among the masters of Correggio should be 
included Pellegrino Munari is not worth discussing. See R. Mengs, Opere, vol. ii. p. 139 
et scq. Bassano, 1780. Tiraboschi, vi. p. 244, .md Pungileoni, ii. p. 9, point out the 
error which gave rise to the inclusion of Michclc and Pier Ilario Mazzola among 


painted frescoes with them in the Bentivoglio Palace at Bologna. There- 
fore we may presume that his gifted pupil from Correggio, who may 
well have spent his thirteenth year (1507 or 1508) under Bianchi's 
guidance, was sent by the latter to perfect himself in the studio of 
Francia."^ If we have very little ground for belief in the instruction 
of Correggio by Bianchi, there is still less reason to suppose that 
he was ever directly taught by Francia. We can even adduce a 
very strong argument against the assumption that Allegri worked 
in Francia's studio. The latter, as we know, entered the names of his 
two hundred scholars in his household account book, which Malvasia 
saw repeatedly, and from which he made copious extracts. And is it 
credible that Malvasia, who, to attest the importance of Francia's 
school, transcribed some thirty names of its most obscure members, 
should have omitted the glorious name of Correggio ? - 

But, when all is said, it matters little who gave the rudiments of an 
art or a science to a future genius. Of what historical importance 
would it be to know who taught the alphabet to Dante and to 
Shakespeare, or who instructed Copernicus and Galileo in the elements 
of arithmetic ? Such knowledge is only valuable when the master's 
art has affected that of his disciple and determined its course, when 
there has been in some sort a fusion of sentiment, a continuity of 
formulae, a progressive development of individual methods, when, in 
fact, the tradition of his teacher has been the pupil's incentive, spurring 
him on in the path of glory. 

The most authoritative modern critics are all agreed that Cor- 
reggio's art marks the highest development of the Emilian style, 
or rather, perhaps, of the Ferrarese, which then predominated in the 

Each school aimed at perfection of form and colour from a 

' L( opere dei maestri italiani nelle gallirie di Monaco, Dresda e Berlino, p. 122. 
Bologna, 1886. 

2 C. C. Malvasia, Felsi7ia Piitrice, i. p. 56. Bologna, 1844. 

^ The credit of having first given attention to this point belongs to Giovanni Morelli, 
op. cit. p. 121 et seq., and Italian Painters, p. 223 et seq. London, 1892. -His conclusions 
were confirmed by Gustavo Frizzoni, Arte italiana del Ritiascimento, p. 354 et seq. Milan, 
1891. Ad. Venturi, // pittor delle grazie. J. P. Richter, Correggio, in Kunst und 
Kiinstkr des Miitelalters und der Neuzeif, edited by Dr. R. Dohnie. Leipzig, 1879. 


special standpoint. The achievement of typical beauty was the 
work of heroic efforts and patient labours, of many years and many 
artists. Giorgione and Titian gave its crowning splendour to Venetian 
art, Leonardo and Andrea del Sarto to that of Tuscany, Raphael 
to that of Umbria. It was Correggio's task to assimilate all the 
elements of Ferrarese art, to invigorate and amplify them by study, to 
vivify them by his genius. In spite of the great admiration he felt 
for Mantegna, tradition, surroundings, and his own noble and refined 
nature, all combined to preserve, both in the style and sentiment of his 
creations, the expressive simplicity of the painters who shed lustre 
on the cities of the Estensi and the Bentivogli ; therefore he re- 
mained faithful to the art of the Ferrarese, and more especially to 
that of Lorenzo Costa and Dosso. 

The city of Correggio lay in the midst of Reggio, Modena, Carpi, 
Bologna, Ferrani, and Mantua. Throughout this region, when Allegri 
was a boy, the spirit of Ferrarese art had been disseminated, either by 
teaching or by the works of the school. Venturl says : " At some 
historic moments desires and tendencies manifest themselves in given 
districts, a new ideal takes shape, dispositions are revealed, which 
determine in a general way the forms that the new artist must receive 
and perfect. He can no more resist these forces than he can help 
adopting the dialect of those among whom he first learns to speak." 
And he continues thus : " About the year 1510, when Correggio was 
a youth, Ferrara still sheltered within her walls the descendants of 
those artists whose development was mainly due to Lionello d'Este, the 
cultured prince who scattered the seed of art over his territory with so 
lavish a hand. Among those who had obeyed the summons of the 
Lord of Ferrara were Pisanello, greeted by the lays of the Veronese 
Guarino, and a chorus of other poets ; Jacopo Bellini, father of the 
founders of the Venetian school ; Mantegna and Pier della Francesco, 
the one bringing with him the first-fruits of his art, the other the 
science of perspective. And others again : Roger van der Weyden, 
who came from Flanders with his triptych, and the secret of painting 
in oils ; Alfonso of Spain, who adorned the studio of Belfiore, where 
Lionello d'Este loved to retire with learned men and books; and 


Angclo of Siena, called I'arrhasius, the painter of the Muses described 
by Ciriaco of Ancona, who declared that bees might l)e deceived 
by the llowers that shone in the grass at the feet of Melpomene. 
These and many other artists from all quarters who flocked to I'^errara 
laid the foundations of a school of painting remarkable for its robust 
Northern character. Cosme Tura arose, a restless seeker after truth, 
whose brush surprised all the secrets of flesh-tints, who carried ex- 
pressive power to the verge of grimace, and movement to the verge of 
violence and exaggeration. Almost at the same time appeared Fran- 
cesco della Cossa, who peopled the great hall of the Schifanoia Palace 
with his high-cheeked divinities, and the altars of Bologna with his 
austere saints. Chief among the artistic heirs of these two masters were 
Ercole de' Roberti and Lorenzo Costa. The former, full of vigour 
and dramatic ardour, left a pictorial monument in Bologna which 
inspired one of Vasari's most powerful pieces of description. His heirs 
were the disciples of Cossa ; Costa meanwhile had shared the kingdom 
of art with Francia at Bologna. A passion for effects won by fore- 
shortening, great vivacity in composition, and a delicate feeling for 
landscape, remained the essential characteristics of the next generation 
in this school. But by the beginning of the sixteenth century its 
art had become enfeebled ; it had lost its way in a maze of formuke, 
and was already sinking into decrepitude. Costa himself, who had 
drawn his first inspiration from Roberti, and had much in common 
with him, gradually lost the verve that characterised his early 
works. By the first years of the sixteenth century his youthful 
robustness had entirely disappeared ; his figures seem to have 
dwindled ; their attitudes are constrained and affected, their heads 
sunk between their shoulders. 

Costa had several scholars and imitators, the most gifted of whom 
was Ercole Grandi, who worked in the Calcagnini Palace at Ferrara, 
where he depicted the joyous life of the Renaissance, painting around 
an open gallery, adorned with Oriental carpets, flower-crowned maidens 
with musical instruments, boys with monkeys, buffoons, courtiers, 
cavaliers, musicians, and fair-haired women. Grandi's vivacity, his 
force of colour, the deep poetic feeling of his landscapes, which seem 



to quiver in azure space, entitle him to the first place in what may be 
called the Costesque cycle at Ferrara. He was also the most versatile 
of the many artists who worked there from the beginning of the 
sixteenth century to the time when Correggio completed his artistic 

The important and long-sustained influence of these men naturally 
extended over a wide district beyond Ferrara. Of Bologna it will be 
unnecessary to speak at length, for it is a matter of common know- 
ledge that the art especially affected by the Bentivogli was that of 
the Ferrarese masters. Galasso went to Bologna about the middle 
of the fifteenth century. Not long afterwards, in the year 1470, 
Francesco Cossa arrived, the fame of his frescoes in the Schifanoia 
having already preceded him. From 1480 to 14S6, Ercole Robert! 
was living at Bologna, where he was joined by Costa in 1483. 
Bolognese writers long asserted that Costa was the pupil of Francia, 
but Francia himself only began to practise painting at about this 
time, having previously worked as a goldsmith. The derivation of 
Lorenzo Costa's art from that of Roberti will be evident to every 
attentive student of the Triitiuplis in the Bentivoglio Chapel at San 
Giacomo. In course of time Costa, after having inspired Francia, 
was in his turn inspired by the latter, becoming more delicate in 
form and more brilliant in colour under his suave influence. Hence 
it is not unreasonable to suppose with Meyer- that the reminiscences 
of Francia discerned by Morelli in Correggio's youthful works, may 
have been transmitted to him by Costa. 

In Modena, meanwhile, art developed steadily on Ferrarese 
lines. It is well known that several Modenese artists worked with 
Francia and Costa. 

" The harsh realism and characteristic vigour of the Modenese 
painters, the Erri, recall the art of Cosine (Tura) and of Costa ; 
Bartolomeo Bonascia also shows himself a close follower of the latter 
master in various details of his sculptured reliefs, while in the flesh- 
less angularity of his heads Bianchi Ferrari reflects the mannerism 
of Tura in the same manner as does Ercole Roberti ; Pellegrino 
' Ad. VuiUuri, h piltor dellc grazie, pp. 234-37. - Correggio, p 69. 

Munari, called by \'asari 'the ornament of his centur)-,' was originally 
a disciple of Bianchi, but gradually approached more and more closely 
to Lorenzo Costa, the head of the Ferrarese school in his day." ^ 

Fcrrarese influence, which began to decline in Refrgio, died out 

almost entirely in Parma, whose artists were turning to Lombardy 
and Venice for inspiration. But of this we shall have more to 
say when we deal with the state of art in that city at the time of 

1 Ad. Venturi, II pi//or delk t^razie, p. 239. La pitluni modencsc ;ii/ seco/o AT. 
Archivio storico dcir Arte, iii. i>. 379. Rome, 1890. 


Correggio's advent. The Maineri from Bologna and Ferrara, Simone 
Fornari, and Cesare, whose works betray the influence both of 
Robert! and of Mantegna, were meanwhile working in Reggio.^ 

In Correggio the Ferrarese tradition likewise prevailed. Among 
the best of the artists who flourished there in the early years of the 
sixteenth century we hear of one Bartolomeo da Ferrara, called 
Brason ; the St. Lucy, already referred to, in the Church of San 
Francesco, is distinctly Ferrarese in character, and the sculptures of 
the Palazzo dei Signori recall those of the Palazzo dei Diamanti in 
Ferrari, while we learn from a description of certain frescoes that 
Cesare da Reggio was working there from 1507 to 1508. Our painter 
thus received his first impressions of Ferrarese art before he quitted 
his native city. But it is of more importance to note that his acquaint- 
ance with Costa's work must have dated from his childhood, for there 
was a picture by the master in the Church of San Francesco. - 

Thus, at the most glorious period of the Renaissance, we mark the 
rise throughout the wide Emillan territory of a very individual art, 
which, if it cannot compete in ideality and resthetic charm with that 
of Florence or of Venice, may yet bear comparison with these by 
virtue of its masculine vigour and profound sincerity. 

' C. ('nm|)Ori. Gli aiiisfi italiaiii e sliaiticri )icgU stati estensi. G. B. Venturi, Notizie 
(U aiiiiti iY!:;i:;i(i//i noii yiconlati dal Tinihoschi. Modena, 1883. Fr. Malaguzzi-Valeri, 
Notizie di ar/is/i irggiaHi. cil. - Pungileoni, ii. p. 43. 







THE affinity of Correggio's 
art to that of Mantegna, 
and the enlargement of 
the master's PY^rrarese style 
under the influence of the great 
Vincenzan's works, have been 
over - emphasised by some 
writers ; others, again, have en- 
tirely ignored this influence ; and 
later critics, in reopening the 
question, have hardly given it 
due importance. 

It was generally supposed 
in the seventeenth century that 
Correggio was the pupil of Man- 
tegna. Francesco Scannelli, in his Rlurocosvto dclla pittitni, printed 


at Cesena in 1657, remarks : "It is the opinion of all the greatest 
authorities on painting that this master profited by the solid Instruction 
of the learned INIantegna from his earliest youth." ^ Ratti,- Mengs,' 
and others not only received this opinion, but stated it as a positive 
fact in their own works. When, however, documents were brought 
to light showing that Mantegna died in 1506, when Correggio was 
only about twelve (and not in 15 17, as had been hitherto believed), 
some historians, seeing that personal relations between the two painters 
could not be established, incontinendy abandoned all attempts to 
trace the Mantegnesque elements in Correggio's art as useless and 

The obvious rejoinder was not long withheld. It was urged with 
much simplicity that though Correggio might not have formed himself 
in IMantegna's botlcga, nor shared his direct teaching, he may very 
well have studied in Mantua, under the influence of the master's 
works. ■'^' Meyer, indeed, declares that Mantegna's manner exercised a 
complete and undeniable influence upon Correggio. We, who hold his 
cviivrc to be the logical outcome of Emilian formulae, cannot accept the 
famous critic's theory in its entirety. But neither can we agree with 
those who, in their eager insistence on the Ferrarese elements of 
Correggio's youthful works, restrict the Mantegnesque to some few 
motives and reminiscences, the final limit of which they consider to 
have been reached In the great Franciscan altar-piece, now at Dresden. 
An art-writer of repute, pointing out the traces of Mantegnesque 
influence in Cav. Benigno Crespl's fine picture at Milan, "notably In 
the heads of the floating angels, and the St. Anne,"'"' continues thus : 
" The head of the Saint is almost a reproduction of a St. Anne in 
the Chapel of Sant' Andrea at Mantua, who reappears In several of 

1 P. 275. - Op. at. pp. 25 and 27. ■• Open, i. p. 175. 

* Tiraboschi, vi. p. 244. Note to Vasari, iv. p. no. 

^ L. Lanzi, S/<»ia pittoriia (T Italia, vol. iv., cliap. iii. C. P. Lnndon, Vies et ivuvres 
des pci litres les plus celebres de toutes les holes — Correggio. Paris, 1817. Pungileoni, i. p. 32 : 
Blanc, IPistoire des Peintres — Acole Lombarde, Le Correge. Paris, 1876. C. L. Eastlake, 
Handbook of Painting. Italian Schools, ii. 497. London, 1874. Meyer, op. cit. p. 62 
et scij. M. C. Heaton, Correggio, p. 5. London, 1890. L. r.uickhnnlt, Le Cicerone, 
ii. ]). 713. Paris, 1892. C. LiXtzov.', / tesori d' arte del/' /talia, \> 1S2. Milan, 1886. 
'■■ A mistake for St. Elizabeth. 


M.integiia's pictures." He refers to various other motives in a [jicture 
ill the Uffizi, formerly iiscribctl to Titian, but now recognised as the 
work of Correggio, and sums up thus : " These obvious reminiscences 
disappear entirely in the earliest of Correggio's duly authenticated 
works, the altar-piece, now at Dresden, painted in 1 514- 1515 for 
the I'Vanciscan church at Correggio. They prove nevertheless 
that Allegri had closely studied the great Mantegna's works, and 
that the Yincenzan master's forms had modified the traditions of 
I-'errara." Adolfo \'enturi's judgment is, so far, perfectly sound. ^ 
Ikit he unduly limits the sphere of Mantegnesque Influence in the 
work of Correggio. Far from disappearing altogether in the iM'an- 
ciscan altar-piece, reminiscences of Mantegna are more direct, more 
obvious, and more indisputable here than in the reputed earlier 

The Church of Santa Maria della Yittoria at Mantua once owned a 
famous picture, now in the Louvre, painted by Mantegna for Francesco 
Gonzaga in 1495, to commemorate the Battle of Fornovo. Under a 
canopy wreathed with foliage, fruit, and flowers, studded with coral 
and gems, and gay with birds, the Yirgin sits on a splendid throne, the 
Child standing upon her lap. Serenely smiling, she e.xtends her right 
hand with a protecting gesture over Francesco Gonzaga, Lord of 
Mantua, who kneels below. Behind him are seen St. Michael, who 
lifts the hem of the Virgin's mantle, and St. Andrew ; and to the right, 
St. George, St. Longinus, and St. Elizabeth, prostrating herself before 
the throne ; the little .St. John stands on its base, which is ornamented 
witli the figures of Adam and Eve in chiaroscuro.- 

I n the Franciscan altar-piece, Correggio decorates the base of the 
Yirgin's throne in like manner, and with the same subject, the fall of 
Eve. Under the throne on which Our Lady of Victory is seated, is a 
footstool ornamented with floriations and spirals, which reappears in 
Correggio's picture, where the ornaments are repeated on a simulated 
marble dado. The small lateral columns of the bas-relief in the 

1 II pittor delle grazie, p. 244. 

" Attilio Portioli, La Chicsa e la Maiioinia dclla I'ittoria di A. Maiilcgiia in Ma/ih>va 
{Aiti e Memorie dell' Accadeinia \'ir:^iliana. Mantua, 1884). See also this writer's article 
already quoted, La vera ston'a di un dipinto cclebrc. 


one picture, support the sides of the throne in the other. We are 
wiUing to allow that these coincidences may have been the result less 

Altar-piece by Mantegii: 

of deliberate imitation than of accident ; that both masters adopted 
motives in common use at the time, the '' properties," so to speak, of 


Lheir art. We will even admit that this identity of details was purely 
accidental and unpremeditated ; but what may be granted as regards 
the minor resemblances we have quoted, cannot be accepted as applic- 
able to the figure of the Virgin and certain portions of the background. 
The Madonna of Mantegna's picture is transferred almost unaltered 
to that of the later master ; her head is inclined in the same 
direction and at the same angle, her right arm extended over the 
figure below, the foreshortened right hand outspread in a like gesture 
of protection ; the left supports the little body of the Child ; the left leg 
is advanced, with the foot in profile, the right drawn back, the great 
toe only resting upon the footstool.^ This obvious imitation has been 
admitted by every writer on Correggio, from Lanzi to Meyer. But 
his indebtedness to Mantegna's picture is not confined to this particular 
instance. Many of its details reappear in his later works ; the canopy 
and ovals are to be recognised in the Camera di San Paolo, where, 
too, we shall find many reminiscences of Mantegna's e.xquisite Camera 
dcj^li Sposi at Mantua ; its garlanded arches crown the summit of 
the tribune in San Giovanni Evangelista at Parma ; and the St. 
Elizabeth greets us again in the small picture formerly belonging to 
the Malaspina family, and now in the Communal Museum at Pavia. 

Thus we see that the Mantegnesque elements in Correggio's 
works are certainly not confined to his youthful pictures. They 
persist, indeed, in the most mature and admirable of his master- 

It will be well, therefore, to note a few more examples of such 
reminiscences as we have pointed out, beginning with those small 
early pictures which demonstrate most clearly that Allegri's artistic 
training was completed in Mantua. 

The visitor to the Uffizi may make a most instructive study of this 
kind within the walls of the Gallery itself Let him compare the 
Babe on the Virgin's breast in the Circuuicision of Mantegna's famous 
triptych, with the Child who leans from his mother's lap to listen to an 
angel playing the viol, in Correggio's small panel, No. 1002. He 

1 Francesco Verla also plagiarised this Madonna in a picture painted in 151 1, now 
No. 306 in the Brera at Milan. 



cannot fail to be struck by the likeness, not only in the attitude, but 
in the proportions, the type, and the sentiment. The children in 
Correggio's early works are purely Mantegnesque ; we need only 
refer the student to the small picture at Pavia, to the picture in 

the Municipal Museum at 
Milan, to Signor Crespi's ex- 
ample, to that at Sigmaringen, 
and finally, to the San Fran- 
cesco altar-piece at Dresden. 

The blooming, joyous chil- 
dren of the Vincenzan and ol 
the youthful Correggio have 
not only a physical, but a 
spiritual likeness ; they have 
the same air of astonished in- 
quiry, the look of those who 
watch and listen. They are not 
the sweet, angelic babes of 
other Italian masters, of Bellini, 
for instance, and Cima ; neither 
are they the sentimental infants of Francia, nor the pensive cherubs 
of the great Florentines and Umbrians, whose mystic gravity reveals 
their future holiness ; they are very human urchins, whose every look 
and movement express the unconscious expansion, the unthinking, 
spontaneous impulses of youthful souls and bodies. In the small 
Virgin and Child in the Uffizi (No. 1025) which the Medici ac- 
quired in the sixteenth century, Mantegna paints the Infant Jesus 
struggling to get down from his mother's lap, impatient of her 
restraining hands, a motive little in accordance with devotional 

Mantegna's and Correggio's children have no long locks streaming 
upon their shoulders, and curling over their brows ; their ears and 
foreheads are nearly always bare ; their wide eyes are full of curiosity ; 
their little mouths half opened in wonder. As Meyer justly remarks, 
the winged genii who hold up the inscription over the doorway 

riptych in the Uffizi. 


in tlui Camera dro/i S/>osi arc the true prc^cursors of Corr{'go;io's 

In a chapel of the; Church of Sant' Andrea at Mantua there 
is a canvas by Mantegna, of lh(t Madonna with St. Joseph, St. 
Ehzabeth, the Infant Jesus, the Httle St. John, and one of the 
Magi, painted against a Iiackgrountl of lemon and orange trees. 

This work, now blackened and ruined by re-touching, we believe 
to have been, in its pristine splendour, a typical example of those 
Mantegnesque creations which most strongly influenced our painter. 

^ O/. df. ]). 67. Other writers besides Meyer have pointed out the affinity between 
the Camera degli Sfosi in Mantua and the Camera di San Paolo at Parma, among them 
Eastlake, Burton, Viscount Both de Tauzia, Paul Mantz, &c. 


The attitudes of the two seated babes, the extremities, the serene 
smile of the Virgin, the type of St. Elizabeth, are all to be recognised 
in the suaver and more gracious conceptions of Correggio's early 
works. If we e.xamine the figures of the little St. John and the 
St. Elizabeth, and compare them with those in Cav. Crespi's picture, 
and if we further compare the older Saint with the Elizabeth in 
the small picture at Sigmaringen, all doubts as to their affinity must 
inevitably be resolved.^ 

The field of such investigations might be indefinitely enlarged. 
One of the flagellants in Mantegna's engraving of Christ at the 




if -'^^^^^^1 


in the Churcli of S.i 

Column suggested the vigorous pose of the executioner with his 

back turned to the spectator, who is killing St. Placidus, in Correggio's 

picture in the Parma Gallery. The head of the Saviour in glory, 

rising from among the worshipping Apostles, in the cupola of San 

Giovanni Evangelista in the same city, recalls Mantegna's dead 

Christ in the Brera, which was at Mantua till 1630. Superficial 

1 Fritz Harck, Quadri italiani nelk i^allerie private di Germaiiia {Air/iivio sforico 
delt Arte, vol. vi., p. 390. Rome, 1893). It may indeed be said that the type of St. 
Elizabeth in Correggio's early works is one we recognise in many of Mantegna's pictures. 
See also No. 51 in tlie Dresden (lallery. 


dissimilarity, arisino- from the splcndiuir of colour and the flowing 
eyes in Correggio's figure, fails to disguise the identit\' ol type in these 
two heads ; we note the same arrangement of the llowing hair, the 
same powerful foreshortening. Yet another reminiscence of IMantegna 
appears in the cupola of the Duomo at Parma, the work which 
represents the last and loftiest flight of Correggio's genius. 

Above the course of windows around the dome a kind of balustrade 
is painted, supporting a series of high torch-bearing candelabra. Among 
their shafts are animated groups of boy genii, some seated, some 
recliniuL;", some standing, some rising from the ground, an<l gazing 

upwards with an air of surprise ; others converse together, or scatter 
incense upon the torches, raising clouds of perfumed smoke. Th(? 
germ of this grandiose conception may be found in the famous cartoons 
of the Triuuiph of Julius Cccsar executed by Mantegna for the 
Gonzaghi, and now at Hampton Court. Several engravings of these 
e.xist, one by IMantegna himself.^ 

A procession of elephants advances below, but above these rise 
the shafts of candelabra, with figures of youths among them. One of 
these attendant genii is in the act of lighting a torch, another leans 

1 Alberto Rondani, U}i cevtcnario in vista, an article published in the journal La 
Sardegtia, year xii. p. 162 (July 6, 1893). .See also C. Vr. Ratti, p. 26, and M. A. 
Mignaty, Vita del Correggio, chap. i. 


forward, resting on his right knee. Not only in its general conception, 
but in details such as these, does Correggio's decoration echo the 
jMantegnesque idea. 

That the youthful Correggio studied Mantegna's works in Mantua 
is evident from these various examples of identity in type and execution. 
But it is proved even more conclusively by his decorative methods, 
by his manner of foreshortening his figures, by his tendency to 
consider them in their relation to the spectator, and to give them 
illusory effects of solidity and of movement in space.^ 

The difficult problem of treatment in perspective was confronted 
and solved by Correggio in his decorations of the vaulted Camera 
di Sail Paolo at Parma, and it is hardly credible that at the age of 
twenty-four, he should have successfully grappled with this problem 
without the help of some victorious precursor in the same field. His 
genius and individuality enabled him to give a marvellous develop- 
ment to the special methods he adopted ; but without some pioneer to 
prepare the ground, he could not so soon have shown that mastery 
of perspective, and that profound knowledge of the human form which 
enabled him to produce his vigorous and inexhaustible variety of 
plastic effects in the rendering of attitude and movement. 

It is clearly inadmissible to suppose that he owed this mastery to 
the Ferrarese or the Florentines. Some persons have contended, and 
still contend, that he had seen the works of Melozzo da Forli, and it is 
curious to note the zeal with which this hypothesis has been upheld, 
in tlie face of insurmountable historic difficulties, when we know, on 
the other hand, that he had every facility for acquiring the manner and 
forms of Mantegna, and that he unquestionably studied the works of 
the latter in his youth. 

It was first suggested that Correggio visited Rome by Father 
Sebastiano Rcsta,^ and by Mengs, the one moved to this assertion by 
a sort of academic prepossession, the other by personal interest ! The 
Padre owned some Raphaelcsque drawings from the antique, which he 
was anxious to sell as the work of Correggio. It was necessary there- 
fore to assume that our painter had been to Rome, to study and copy 

' Meyer, p. 72. - See Tiraboschi, vi. pp. 247-251. 


them. Mcngs declared his bchcf in the supposed visit, though it 
did not occur to him to connect it with the theory of Correggio's 
famiHarity with Melo/zo's work ; it approved itself to him on other 
grounds, mainly as bringing Correggio into relation with classic art.^ 
Was it possible, he argued, that an artist of genius should have failed 
to see the Greek and Roman treasures collected in the capital ? Was 
it to be believed that he resisted his desire to sec that Rome whose 
artistic culture had reached its apogee in the activity of Buonarroti and 
of Sanzio ? His theory became an obsession which enabled him to 
discover reminiscences of antique statues in Allegri's pictures. In the 
young man lleeing from the Roman soldiers who capture Christ, a 
figure painted by Correggio in a small picture known only by copies, 
INIengs discovered an imitation of one of the sons of Laocoon, from the 
famous group discovered in 1506! Such a comparison shows how 
even an artist of talent may be misled by academic preventions. 

Other arguments, of more artistic weight, were afterwards adduced 
by critics in support of Resta's practical, and Mengs's classical profes- 
sions ot taith. Briefly stated, they were as follows : Allegri learnt the 
secrets of foreshortening from Marco Melozzo ; Melozzo's principal 
work was in the Church of the Holy Apostles at Rome ; therefore 
Allegri must have visited Rome. This syllogism was upheld by many 
writers on art, from Padre dalla Valle to Cavalcaselle and Burckhardt. 
It was warmly contested by Meyer, but continued to find adherents, 
though Burckhardt finally abandoned it, if we may judge by his silence 
on the question in the last edition of the Cicerone. Strange to say, it 
was also patronised by those who insisted on the artistic affinity of 
Mantegna and Melozzo, and explained it by a certain commerce or 
connection between the two schools, due to Ansuino da Forli. Even 
il we admit that such relations existed between the two masters, it is 
evident that the example of one of them, Mantegna alone, may very 
well have sufficed to influence Correggio. The best authorities are 
now agreed that Melozzo was the artistic offspring of Pier della 
Francesca, and that his affinities with Mantegna are due to 
certain analogies of temperament, and, in a still greater degree, 
' Open-, ii. p. 14::. Ratli, as is well known, follows Mengs closely. 


to the results of artistic evolution, and the simultaneous appearance 
or discovery of certain formulae in different schools. 

While, on the one hand, all kinds of sophistries have been accepted 
in support of the hypothesis that our painter visited Rome, on the 
other there are abundant evidences to prove that he was never in the 

In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, a pilgrimage to Rome was 
thought essential for an artist. Some were attracted by the classic 
treasures collected there, others by the marvellous development of 
new forms in the hands of an army of masters patronised by 
popes, cardinals, and princes. Artists were naturally possessed by a 
desire, amounting almost to a passion, to visit the Eternal City, and to 
see the wonders ancient and modern culture had combined to accumu- 
late. To use a phrase of our own day, Rome was looked upon as a 
" school of perfection," which many entered by dint of privations and 
hardships innumerable. To the biographer, this event in the life of 
an artist was always of great interest, and invariably furnished the 
text for a series of reflections on his style. Vasari does not overlook 
the point in his appreciation of Correggio, and after lamenting that he 
never visited Rome, where he might have studied " antiquities, and 
the best things in modern art," he concludes: "If Antonio, with his 
genius, had gone from Lombardy to Rome, he would have done 
wonders, and would have given trouble to many who were esteemed 
great in his day." ^ 

Ortensio Landi was no less impressed by this misfortune. Writing 
as early as 1552, he asserts that Correggio "died young, without 
having seen Rome." - 

Landi's testimony is of no little weight when we remember that he 
was the guest of Rinaldo Corso at Correggio, and that he may have 
lieen acquainted not only with many who had known the painter, but 
with his son Pomponio.'' 

These two witnesses, who wrote only a few years after the painter's 

> IV., p. ,,.. 

" Sc//i' /il'i-i (/i uU/ialiig/ii a raric ivsc a/'fcuioiciili, p. 493. Venice, 1553. 

•' I'lmgileoiij, iu 41. 103. 


death, are corroborated by such indirect evidences as : the total absence 
of any Roman elements in his manner, the omission of his name in 
all contemporary records of a circle where he could hardly have passed 
unnoticed, and the fact that no traces exist of relations between him 
and any of the artists who llourished in Rome during his lifetime. It 
is said that a sign-board, upon which was painted a rustic leading a 
heavily laden mule, followed by its foal, used to hang over the door of 
an inn on the Via Flaminia, near Roaie. This very mediocre work, 
which, to judge by an engraving and some copies must have been 
painted long after the death of Correggio, was traditionally ascribed 
to him, and served to confirm a popular legend, according to which 
Allegri came to Rome almost a beggar, seeking inspiration from the 
siil)lime works of antiquity, and anxious to admire those of the great 
moderns who were working in the cit)-. Exhausted by his travels, he 
halted at a lonely inn by the roadside, and, unable to pay the host for 
his board and lodging, he painted the sign in discharge of his debt.^ 
The pathetic story loses its chief interest, however, when we find it 
impossible to accept the picture as the master's work. 

It is plain that neither internal evidences, legends, nor traditions 
tend to shake the testimony of Vasari and Landi, which is, indeed, 
supported by the whole character of the painter's work. Correggio 
was never at Rome. If further proofs were needed, we have them 
indirectly in many documents. It will hardly be contended that he 
visited Rome before the age of eighteen or nineteen ; and the various 
evidences we have of his presence in Correggio and Parma after the 
year 1513 all combine to show that there was no interval of un- 
occupied time sufficiently long to allow of his supposed journey and 

^ \\'e learn from I'ungilconi (i. pp. 26-28, ii. p. 39) that the panel passed from the 
collection of Queen Christina of Sweden to that of Prince Odescalchi, also in Rome ; 
afterwards to that of the Duke of Orleans in Paris, and finally to the Stafford collection 
in London. Ratti, in his turn, describes a circular jianel, the head of a cask, in fact, on 
which was painted a " host bringing some muleteers into his inn," and also states it to 
be in the Odescalchi collection. It was, perhaps, a copy with variations, if not the 
original sign-board. Q. Bigi relates, we know not on what authority, that Correggio 
painted it in 1513 for a certain Giulio Farini, and that it was eventually brought to Rome 
by a servant of Cardinal Uberto Gambara, tlic brother of Veronica {Delia vita e dcllc 
opcrc di A. .1., p. 41). See also I'ietro Martini, S///1I1 intoiiw al Coi-reggio, pp. 55-56. 
Parma, 1S6?. 


his sojourn in the city. Padre Resta, however, again with an eye to 
the sale of his drawings, despatched the artist on various pilgrimages 
throughout Italy, to Milan among other places, to copy the works of 
Bramante and of Leonardo.^ His statement was a godsend to those 
who place Correggio in the Lombard school, and see in his method 
of colouring a mere " clarification " of Leonardo's manner. That he 
knew something of Leonardo's work is beyond a doubt ; the finished 
modelling of his forms, the exquisite gradation of his tones, and, 
in a still greater degree, the union of these special qualities in 
his manner, all point to this conclusion. But there is not the slightest 
evidence that he ever saw the Lombard capital, or worked in the 
school of the great master. 

We may therefore return to Mantua, where Correggio's artistic 
education was really completed. 

Mantegna and Lorenzo Costa are the two masters whose 
influence, complex and indefinite, yet unmistakable, appears in all 
his early works. Critics have further noted traits of form and colour 
peculiar to Dosso Dossi. As my readers know, I do not think it 
necessary to search for the determining causes of Correggio's early 
manner outside the sphere of Ferrarese influence, e.xcept, of course, in 
the case of Mantegna. We may also dismiss the theory of Lionbruno's 
share in his development. 

But where, it may be asked, could he have admired the works of 
Mantegna, and come into contact with Lorenzo Costa and Dosso 
Dossi ? 

We have seen that those of the Vicenzan master's works he most 
evidently studied were all in Mantua. Let us now briefly glance at 
the careers of the two Ferrarese painters. 

Mantegna died September 13, 1506. A few days later the 
Bentivogli, hard pressed by Julius IL's soldiery, and by the gathering 
storm among their own subjects, lied by night from Bologna. Among 
the many painters who held, as it were, a semi-official position at 
the Court of Giovanni II., Francia and Costa took the lead. Francia 
was a native of Bologna ; he had a house, a family, a bof/cg-a, where 
1 'I'iraboschi, vi. 249 ; Uottari, Lc//erc artislichc, iii. 488. 



goklsmilli's work and painting were carried on side by side, and a 
crowd of pupils. lie was not therefore disposed to k;ave the city. 
But the case was different for the Ferrarese Costa, ahhough he had 
Hved there over twenty years. As one who had worked ahnost 
exchisively for the l')entivogh', and had 
received weahh and honours from 
them, he must have been deeply 
affected by their downfall, and the 
destruction of their palace, with the 
precious frescoes he had himself de- 
signed and executed. He must have 
felt that the ties which bound him to 
Bologna were broken, and that he could 
not stay to serve the enemies of his 
patron. At the court of the Bentivogli, 
Costa had been not only the artist, but 
the friend and counsellor. He was 
one of the envoys sent to Julius H. 

upon his accession ' and we know that "^ 

he was present at discussions on matters of sport between Alessandro 
Bentivoglio and Bonaparte Ghisilieri." 

When, at this crisis in his fortunes, he was invited by the Gonzaghi 
to take the vacant place of Mantegna at their court, he must have 
hailed the summons as providential. We find him established at 
Mantua in 1507'', painting the apotheosis of Francesco Gonzaga 
in the palace of San .Sebastiano ; his next great work was the famous 
Alli\o-ory of the Court of Isabella d'Este, painted for the duchess's 
private cabinet. The scene is laid on the bank of a river ; poets, 
musicians, ladies and cavaliers disport themselves in the foreground, 
while Cupid crowns Isabella beyond. Costa also painted a mythological 
piece, with Apollo, Venus, Cupid, Orpheus and Mercury, for the 
same room. 

' A. Gliisclli, Mciiuiric di Bologna, MSS. in the University Library at Bologna, 
X. p. 296. - Arcliivio storico dvlf ar/c, v. p. 137. 

2 Ad. Vcnturi, Lorenzo Costa {Arc/iivio storico deir arte, vol. i. p. 251, 1889). 


We need not linger here over his other works, his artistic gifts, 
and the rewards heaped on him by the Gonzaghi. He remained with 
them until his death on March lo, 1535, just a year after that of 

As to Dosso, we know from contemporary documents that he was 
in Mantua in 1512, when he painted a picture "with eleven human 
figures " for the Palace of San Scbastiano.^ 

The conclusion to which all the facts above stated point is perfectly 
simple and obvious ; it is not to be assailed by any critical pre- 

possession. It is undeniable that in the youthful works painted by 
Correggio in and about 1512, we trace the influence of pictures by 
Mantegna at Mantua ; Ferrarese inspiration is no less evident in his 
forms and colour, which are closely allied to those of Costa and Dosso, 
the two Ferrarese masters working in Mantua at the time. We cannot 
but conclude from these facts that Mantua was the city to which Antonio 
Allegri passed, perhaps from his uncle Lorenzo's studio ; that it was 
here he supplemented the modest instruction he had already received, 
and formed his characteristic style. We may very reasonably presume 
1 Pungileoni, ii. p. 45. C. dArco, ii. p. 79. 


that his arrival at Mantua and his sojourn in the city took place 
between 1311 and 15 13, when he was from seventeen to nineteen 
years old, for there is no mention of his presence at Correggio at 
this time in any contemporary documents. In these we find no 
reference whatever to him between January 12, 151 i, when he acted 
as sponsor, and the summer of 15 14. We cannot doubt that he 
spent this time in Mantua. 

Meyer is of opinion that Correggio had no personal relations with 
the artists of the city, but that he studied their works. ^ We cannot 
agree with him. The echoes of Mantegna we note in many of Cor- 
reggio's pictures are sufficiently explained by his study of the master's 
works ; but in the case of Costa and Dosso we are inclined to believe 
in direct influence, that, indeed, of the master on the pupil. From them 
he seems to have acquired not only form, but his individual use ot 
colour ; and we know that " chromatic tonality," the secret, in short, 
of colour, is not to be discovered by the most earnest study of finished 
works, such secrets being always jealously guarded by particular 
schools and masters. Bandinello is known to have begged Andrea del 
Sarto to paint his portrait on purpose to observe his method of using 
colour and mixing tints. Andrea detected the trick ; he took care to 
baffle Baccio's curiosity, and proclaimed the ill-success of the stratagem, 
which was universally condemned as a very disgraceful action. - 

In 151 1 Correggio was decimated by the plague. Among the 
many victims were the painters Giovanni di Pletro and Bernardino di 
Luchino, and the French General, Charles d'Amboise. Terrified at 
the violence of the epidemic, many persons sought to escape infection 
by flight. The Correggesque historians Antonioli, Bulbarini, and 
Pungileoni tell us that some of the Signori repaired to Mantua, the 
youthful painter following in their train, while Veronica took refuge 
with her widowed mother, Alda Pia.^^ Correggio's return to his 
native city is attributed to a like cause, the appearance of the plague 
in Mantua in 1513.'* 

No authority is quoted for these statements. They were probably 

1 Correggio, p. 74. - II libro ih-i co/on\ p. 6 cl seg. Bologna, 1SS7. 

^ Pungileoni, i. p. 30. ■■ Of', at. i. p. 35 ; ii. p. 51. 


mere reports, which, in the course of transmission from one biographer 
to another, grew into positive assertions by a very common process. 
But though history is silent as to the exact time and manner of 
Ailcgri's sojourn in the city of the Gonzaghi, and though we may not 
be incHned to accept the outbreaks of plague at Correggio and 
Mantua as the determining causes of his travels, his own works prove 
conclusively that by 15 13 he had been in Mantua, had studied the 
works of Mantegna (who died in 1506) and those of Costa and Dosso, 
who were then working there. 

We see no reason whatever for the opinion of certain critics as to 
the supposed influence of Lorenzo Lionbruno on the early work of 
Correggio.^ At the time of our painter's arrival in Mantua, if this 
took place, as it almost certainly did, about 1511, Lionbruno was only 
twenty-two years old. Then, and for some time afterwards, he re- 
ceived orders for work, not directly, but through the medium of 
Lorenzo Costa, or, as contemporary documents put it, " by relation or 
commission." He was evidently at the very outset of his career. 
Some ten years later, indeed (when Correggio had decorated the 
Camera di San Paolo at Parma and worked at the cupola of San 
Giovanni), Lionbruno was still looked upon rather as a painter of 
brilliant promise than as an approved master. On INLarch 10, 1521, 
Federigo, Marquis of Mantua, wrote thus to Baldassarre Castiglione : 
" Knowing the e.\cellent talents of our painter. Master Lorenzo 
Lionbruno, and seeing from his works what a firm foundation he has 
laid for the art he practises, whence we have good hopes of his 
success in his calling, we have determined he shall lack no means of 
attaining to that hoped for perfection which will be an honour alike 
to us and to our native place. And as we believe a visit to Rome 
will greatly benefit him, because he will there see many things worthy 
of imitation, we have persuaded him to go thither and remain for a 
time and have given him the means so to do." - We can hardly suppose, 

1 Pungileoni, i. p. 33 ; ii. pp. 46, 47. Charles Yriartc, Isahcllc if Este ct Ics Artistes 
dc son temps {Gazette des Beaux Arts, xiii. \>. 195). 

2 Girolamo Prandi, Notizie storiclie spettanti hi vita e ie ipeie di Lore)izo Lionhntno. 
Mantua, 1825. 


therefore, that the pictures this man was painting some ten years earher 
to Costa's orders can have exercised any strong intluence on Correggio, 
an artist but Uttle younger than himself, and of a very different tempera- 
ment. When Allegri arrived in Mantua, Lionbruno was making his 
first essays as a painter ; he produced nothing of importance until some 
time after the other had left the city. The points of contact in the 
works of the two young artists are to be explained by the fact that 
both were inspired by Mantegna, as both were disciples of Costa. 

The evidences we have now noted make it unnecessary to insist 
on those of documents which are said to have existed, and 
possibly still exist, at Mantua. Lanzi, relying on the statement of 
Leopoldo \'olta, declared that his name occurred in the parish 
books of .Sant' Andrea ; but a careful examination of these made 
by Pasqualc Codde at the request of Pungileoni failed to dis- 
cover the entry.^ Certain pictures at Mantua have been ascribed 
to Correggio by various writers, from Donesmondi onward. Dones- 
mondi begins by attributing to him the frescoes in the atrium of the 
church of Sant' Andrea. He goes on to state with tranquil confidence 
that he painted a St. Andrew and a St. Longinus there " in his early 
manner, founded on that of Mantegna ; an Ascension of Christ, the 
twelve Apostles standing round, in a broader and mellower style ; " and 
lastly, an Entombment, " in a manner differing altogether from that of 
the preceding, and much more beautiful," so much so, he concludes, 
that intelligent persons wondered "three such dissimilar works should 
have come from the same hand." Curbing his very reasonable admira- 
tion of this miraculous versatility, Donesmondi proceeds to assign to 
Correggio the four Evangelists on the pendentives of the small cupola 
in the north chapel of Sant' Andrea, and some angels in chiaroscuro 
formerly above the windows. Not content with this, he also makes 
him the author of a fresco over an archway in the Piazza delle Erbe, 
representing P""rancesco Gonzaga kneeling before the Virgin beside the 
horse which saved his life in the battle of the Taro, and finally of a 
picture in the church of Santa Maria della Vittoria.- 

1 Pungileoni, i. p. 13. C. d'Arco, ii. pp. 240-41. 

- Da/t' istoria etxtcsiastiai di lUantova, part ii. pp. 47, 49, 86, and 119. Mantua, 16 1 5. 


Giovanni Cadioli accepted all these attributions, and enriched them 
by a contribution of his own. He saw in Correggio the painter ot the 
central roundel in the vault of the Camera degli Sposi, where a group 
of women and children hanging over a balustrade look down into the 

It would be childish to attempt any serious refutation of these naive 
assertions, unsupported as they arc by any particle of documentary 
evidence. Contemporary records indeed occasionally contradict them 
pointedly. The medallion in the Camera degli Sposi is one of the 
most admirable and best authenticated of Mantegna's works. The 
picture formerly in the church of Santa Maria della Vittoria, and now 
in the museum, has not a single Correggesque trait, and is on very 
sufficient grounds assigned to the Mantuan painters, Giovanni and 
Costantino Medici.'- The other works described, in the atrium of Sant' 
Andrea, were e.xecuted for the most part by Francesco Mantegna, the 
son of the great V^icenzan.^ 

These felicitous ascriptions, based neither on critical examination 
of the works in question, nor on the discovery of new documents, and 
serving no end save that of confusing historic issues, and distorting 
the true image of the artist, nevertheless continue to be bruited abroad 
under the imposing title of discoveries. 

Not long ago certain Germans recognised the hand of Leonardo in 
some mediocre pictures they hunted out in the castle at Milan; then 
we have M. Charles Yriarte announcing to his admirers the discovery 
of a work by Correggio in the decorations of a cabinet in the old castle 
of Mantua.* To Yriarte's question : " When did Correggio paint these 
frescoes ?" we may answer in all confidence : "Never." 

The decorations of the small chamber in question are arranged to 
suit the octagonal shape of the vault. In each compartment are two 
children supporting a cartel with symbols .uid mottoes. The central 

1 Dcsmzionc dcllc pilturc, iculinn- cJ anhiUttiiic di Maulova, yy. 35, 49. 5°. ^i'""-! 54- 
Mantua, 1763. 

'^ Carlo d'Arco, op. cit. i. jip. 6o-6j. "• 'I'iraboschi, vi. p. 244. 

■• Sec article quoted, the Gazette des Jh-m/.x .his, and Correggiu's Frescoes i/i the 
Castle of Ma/itiia, a letter to G. B. Intra in the journal La Ferseveransa, year .\.N.\vii. 
No. i:!,753- ^li'-^". Al'>'l 'o. '895- 


disc simulates a kind of octagonal terrace like that of the Camera dcoli 
Sposi, with boy genii leaning over a balustrade, and one hovering 
in the midst. The pendentives are decorated with symbolic repre- 
sentations of the four quarters of the globe, and the lunettes, which 
formerly filled the spaces above the presses or wardrobes, are painted 
in monochrome. 

Whatever the date to which these paintings may be assigned, 
one thing is certain. Neither in proportion, colour, sense of 
ornament, nor type of figure have they the slightest affinity with the 

art of Correggio. We should search in vain among his works for 
any one of the characteristic features of these frescoes, hair painted 
upon a crude red ground, eyes encircled by dark lines, thin legs with 
exaggerated curves in outline, long, sinuous figures, an afifected grace 
of attitude, and finally, a very individual type of foot, with slender 
toes, the great toe much longer than the rest — a type dift"ering 
essentially from the short, compact foot of Correggio's youthful 
genii. The foreshortening is very often faulty. One of the two 
boys in the foreground has an impossibly short arm ; the other, rickety 
legs. The figure of the console to the left of the window is singularly 


squat and clumsy la drawing. Not one among the band of children 
approaches the joyous, robust type of Correggio's /«///. They display, 
indeed, all the sedate affectation of court pages. 

The trivial ornament, with heads of lions modelled on a dull 
yellow ground, and leaves sharply and heavily defined, whereas 
Correggio's are always laid in with a full brush in the centre, and 
faintly touched in the outlines ; the manner of indicating the lights in 
monochrome ; the faulty perspective and commonplace form of the 
central balustrade — all these details, no less than the figures themselves, 
negative the attribution of these frescoes to the master. 

It is true that they have suffered severely from age and from partial 
re-touching. But the general character of the work is still apparent 
in parts, and it is possible to appraise it, in spite of decay and restora- 
tions. In the small portions that remain intact, we find a predominant 
pink tinged with violet in the carnations, for which there is absolutely 
no parallel among Correggio's warm and alabastrine flesh-tints. 

Yet Yriarte has the courage to write as follows : 

" At the first sight of these little figures with their agile movements, 
their brilliant yet mellow carnations, and the play of light on their 
contours, we exclaimed : Correggio was here in his youth, and this 
bears testimony to his sojourn." In a letter he adds that every 
expert familiar with the characteristics of the Italian masters must 
recognise in these frescoes the hand, the grace, the soul, in short, of 
the great painter ! 

Blessed are the eyes which can see these things! We, unhappily, 
found the hand, the grace, the soul of Correggio conspicuously absent 
in these paintings ! 

Correggio undoubtedly worked for the Gonzaghi of Mantua, but 
at a much later period, and never in fresco. 

HASTISED. (Fresco 







AS Burckhardt justly ob- 
serves, we shall form but 
an imperfect idea of the 
Renaissance if we ignore the im- 
portance it gave to woman, and 
the rapid development of her in- 
dividuality under its influences.^ 
Her education was the counter- 
part of that enjoyed by the man. 
" F"rom the moment that the 
neo-Latin culture came to be re- 
cognised as the chief ornament 
of life, no reason could be urged 
against the participation of girls in 
its advantages." As the wives of 
rulers, and the leaders of court society, the women of the Renaissance 
^ La civilta del secolo del Rinasciiuento in Italia, vol. ii. p. 165 cl seq. Florence, 1876. 

di SaTi Paolo : 


were surrounded by the most eminent men of the day. Antonio 
Galateo advised Bona Sforza to study men, since she was born to bind 
them to her chariot wheels. Poets sang- of woman thus : 

" La farem nostra reina, 
Lei sol merta la corona, 
Perche Apollo il suo liquore 
Le ha donato d'Elicona." ^ 

Poetesses and learned ladies abounded, and Bandello's description 
of Countess Cecilia Gallerana Bergamini, "the affable and virtuous 
lady," might have been applied to many among them : "The highest 
and noblest intellects are of her company. Military men discuss the 
art of war, musicians sing, architects make drawings, philosophers 
inquire into the secrets of nature, poets recite their own verses and 
those of others." Much of the great revival is due to women, not 
only by virtue of their superior refinement, and the elegance they 
introduced into their dwellings, but inasmuch as they worthily 
encouraged and inspired artists and men of letters. The homage so 
justly due to them in this connection was nobly summed up and 
expressed in the kiss Michelangelo bent his austere head to lay upon 
the dead brow of Vittoria Colonna. 

Few districts reared and sent forth so many accomplished prin- 
cesses as the Emilia and the Romagna. Isabella Gonzaga, the 
typical great lady of the Renaissance, sprang from the tragic house 
of the Estensi, which had provided innumerable great Italian families 
with noble and cultured wives. 

The splendour of Isabella's court at Mantua was at its zenith 
when Veronica, daughter of Gian Francesco Gambara and Alda Pio 
of Carpi, came to Correggio as the wife of Giberto. 

Her face, we are told, was neither beautiful nor delicate, though 
full of kindness, but this plainness of feature was atoned for by a 
magnificent figure, a sweet voice, a quick wit, and a cultivated mind. 
She wrote sonnets and Latin verse, and, being sedentary and some- 
what lazy in her habits, had become an indefatigable reader. She 
loved books, and had collected a good library. In her delightful 
1 A. Vernarecci, Otlaviaiw dc' J\'/niui, p. 95. Bologna, 1882. 



letters, in which there is none of the " tedious and almost conventual 
severity " of Vittoria Colonna's,^ we find her bent on the satisfaction 
of her various tastes, ordering flowers, perfumes, jewellery, carriages, 
toys for her children, linen, and dresses. " I want some IHorentine 
plush, 1 am tired of Flemish, French, and Fnglish cloths." - To 
ensure the elegance of her c/nvissitrc she has recourse to her daughter 

Costanza, who had married one oi the Gonzaghi oi Novellara. " I 
send you a little velvet, and jiray you to order me two pairs of 
slippers before i\\&fcics, on account of which I am somewhat before- 
hand. The others were right as to height and all else, save that they 

R. Renier, Gioniak storico dclla Icttcratura iia/ia/ni, xiv. p. 441. Turin, 18S9. 
Veronica Gambara, Rime c Utkrc raccoltc da Fc-lice Rizzardi, p. 161. Brescia, 1759. 


were rather too large in the openings. Tell the shoemaker to make 
them somewhat narrower, about half a finger's breadth." ^ 

She had an inordinate passion for jewels, and wished her daughter- 
in-law Chiara to possess gems surpassing those of all other ladies in 
splendour. Having to send her to Mantua on one occasion, she 
borrowed additional jewels for her, to ensure her appearance in 
unrivalled magnificence. 

Rinaldo Corso contrived to draw a very pleasant portrait of her 

without suppressing certain unpalatable truths. " If Veronica's face 

had agreed with the rest of her person, she would have 

<r*'T'_ ra l^f'-en faultlessly beautiful, and full of grace even in 

her old age. But her features, though not ugly, 

f I 'j Wa 't' lacked delicacy, a defect which was amply compensated 
r|, ', I by the eloquence which flowed from her lips in the 
'''-.' same measure as from her pen, with so much sweet- 

'"vERoitcVGwiuTrfA?'' ness and frankness that all who conversed with her, 
no matter on what subject, left her with an ardent 
desire to return and listen to her again. The excellence of her consti- 
tution appeared in this, that although she took very little exercise, she 
kept in good health and lived long, and to the last read and wrote 
without the help of spectacles. She avoided the open air, and was 
careful to protect herself from it. She ate nourishing foods, and never 
took fresh fruits, nor any such viands. She had no pleasure in games, 
her sole pastimes being to study and converse on worthy subjects with 
her friends. Always sober and affable with persons of either sex, and 
of every age and condition, her manners were at once dignified and 
pleasing. To children (of whom, as saith the Scripture, is the kingdom 
of Heaven) she was lavish of caresses. By no means passionate, if she 

1 Ford. Rossi-Foglia, Cc/ifii biografici intonio a ]\ G. di Rinaldo Corso, c Icttcrc ddla 
stcssa, p. 28. Correggio, 1884. The supposed portrait of Veronica Gambara repro- 
duced above belongs to Signor Federigo Gianotti of Correggio. In a small coat of arms 
in the corner of the picture, the bearings of the Gambari are quartered with those of the 
Lords of Correggio. A question has been raised as to the costume, which some have 
supposed to be of a later date than the time of Veronica. l!ut the collar she wears in 
the portrait was fashionable l)ctwcen 1520 and 1530. Qulnty, in his treatise published 
in 1527, speaks of the art of cnibroideriiig sucli collars. Count L. A. Gandini, an 
authority on the subject, confirms this. 


occasionally gave way to anger she was easily appeased, and quick to 
forgive offences against herself. In civil broils she was prompt in her 
efforts to promote peace and dexterous in bringing it about. In the 
art of bringing up her children nobly, training them to greatness, and 
preserving unity among them, she was a marvel, and a true example to 
all other matrons who govern and have children, and more especially 
to those in whose households discord is, so to speak, a hereditary 
disease. She has been accused of showing an excessive affection for 
her friends and servants, and of being over-zealous in their defence, 
and further, of lending a willing ear to flatterers, and of being easily 
deceived. Not that she claimed immunity for \\cr p7^oh'gc's, or allowed 
them to make her favour a screen for their misdeeds ; but when they 
transgressed, she could not abandon them. Her credulity was caused 
by this, that she judged the souls of others by her own, and accounted 
all good, as she was herself. Her kindness of heart made her suscep- 
tible to flattery, though she was naturally humble. But defects such as 
these are proofs of purity and sincerity of sentiment rather than other- 
wise, seeing that none are without fault in this life. Her literary style 
was clear and agreeable, as we have shown, and of equal excellence in 
prose and verse." ^ 

We easily discern Veronica's character through the laudatory periods 
of the worthy cinguccentista, and recognise in her a woman who loved 
adulation, and staunchly supported those who skilfully flattered and 
managed her. 

He shows us, too, that her temper was not always under perfect 
control. Pnit these touches rather increase than detract from our 
interest in her personality, to which they give an air of historic 
vraisciiiblancc. The biographer's insistence on the virtues of his hero 
too often makes us distrustful of his guidance. The placid gentleness 
proper to the model housewife was hardly to be looked for in the lady 
of a house like that of the Correggeschi, who not unfrequently passed 
from the cares of a family to those of a state, and had to play the 
dangerous game of politics in such an age as the sixteenth century. 

1 Rinaldo Corso, Vita di Gibcrto III. di Corrcggio, colla vita di Veronica Gambara, 
Ancona, 1566. 


Occasional flashes of indignation became her perfectly, and illuminate 
her figure for the student. 

Her susceptibility to flattery may be pardoned her in virtue of her 
double quality of princess and bluestocking. A certain share of vanity 
has always been a weakness of cultured and powerful women. 
Veronica, who united so many of their virtues, was not exempt from 
some of their failings. 

It is evident, however, that she had that greatest of virtues, 
sincerity. The very stubbornness with which she defended her friends, 
even when in fault, proves the uprightness of her heart and the loyalty 
of her affections. We must not forget that in those days it was usual 
to sacrifice everything to personal or political e.xigences, even the lives 
of friends and brethren ! 

Veronica was undoubtedly one of the most accomplished among 
the literary women of the sixteenth century. Her verses are, of 
course, modelled on the poems of Petrarch, but they are not without a 
certain expansive quality, and have a distinctly personal note. Her 
letters, scattered throughout a number of pamphlets, have been highly 
praised for their gaiety and ease, for their display of that alertness, 
refinement, and witty malice that characterised the great lady of the 
Renaissance, and for the interesting details they contain of contemporary 
life and manners.^ 

Her passion for discussions on art and learning, her pleasure in the 
society of intelligent persons, with whom she exchanged ideas, and 
from whom she received the homage and adulation she loved, and her 
natural desire that her own court should equal those of neighbouring 
princes in dignity and elegance, alike induced Veronica to gather round 
her a number of artists and men of letters, and to form them into a sort 
of academy. Pre-eminent among them was the famous Gian Battista 
Lombardi, or Marchesini, physician and philosopher. Professor of 

1 Besides the works already quoted, see Quirino Bigi, Sflpra la ceUbre Contessa Matildc 
e Veronica Gamhara (Mantua, 1859), Emilio Costa, Sonetti amorosi di V. G. (Parma, 
1890), and Una leitera incdita di Veronica Gamhara {Giornalc storico della letteratura 
italiana, ix.) ; A. E. Mortara, Epistolc cdite per nozze Fadigati-Visioli (Casalmaggiore, 
1852); Vittorio Cian, Primizie epistolari di V. G. (in L Intermezzo, review, No. 12). 
Turin, 1890. 


logic at Bologna in i486, and of medicine at Fcrrara in 1490, he was 
invited to their city by the Lords of Correggio, who employed him in 
various important affairs of state, and treated him with the most affec- 
tionate consideration until his death in September, 1526.^ Other 
frequenters of Veronica's sa/on were the learned Ippolito Merlo, the 
jurisconsult Sigismondo Augustoni, Rinaldo Corso, who afterwards 
wrote her life, and the; physician Annibale Camilli. When in Bologna 
in 15 15, \'eronica had requested the latter to send her some sample of 
his learning, and the following year ,he dedicated to her a series of 
philosophical pamphlets, in which he eulogises her learning and virtues, 
and declares that he owes everything to her protection. 

To this learned company, among whom she habitually lived, we 
must add the names of those famous friends and admirers who visited 
her from time to time, such as Ariosto, Bembo, Molza, Cappello, Mauro, 
Antonio Bernardi di Mirandola, and (on two occasions, in 1530 and 
1532) the Emperor Charles \^ 

Nothing, in fact, was wanting which could gratify her taste for 
lofty and cultured intercourse, and her just pretensions to literary 

Among the friends of her own sex who were often wiih her were 
Ginevra Rangoni, the widow of Gian Galeazzo, who married Lulgi 
Gonzaga some time after 151 7, and Cassandra, daughter of the great 
captain, Bartolomeo Colleoni. On the death of her husband, Nicolo 
da Correggio, In 1508, Cassandra had retired to a convent founded by 
him, taking with her her daughter Isotta. She was afterwards joined 
by her other daughter, Beatrice, who returned from Parma on the 
death of her husband, Nicolo Sanvitale. Both Beatrice (whom Ariosto 
sang under the name of Mavwid) and her sister enlivened the solitude 
of the cloistral cell with poetry and song. Well might it be said. In the 
words of Messer Lodovico : 

" Oh ! di die belle e sagge donne veggio, 
Oh ! di che cavalieri il lito adorno ! 
Oh ! di che amici, a chi in eterno deggio 
Per la letizia ch' 'an del mio ritorno ! 

Pungileoni, ii. pp. 34 and 199. 


Mamma e Ginevra, e V altre da Correggio 
Veggo del molo in su I'estremo corno ; 
Veronica da Gambara e con loro 
S'l grata a Febo e al santo aonio coro." 

Many others sang her praises besides the great Ferrarese poet. 
Among the most famous of her eulogists were Vittoria Colonna, Casio, 
Sannazaro, Trissino, Ruscelli, Lilio Giraldi, Bernardo Tasso, who 
spoke of her as " the glory of the feminine sex," Bandello, Varchi, who 
lauded her " fluent and agreeable" speech, Dolci, Bembo, Molza, and 
Giovanni della Casa. Later, Possevino called her the " Italian Sappho." 
Charles V. told her she was dear to him for many reasons, but chiefly 
for " her virtue and renown." 

Neither cares of state, nor the desire to play a brilliant part in 
society, were suffered to interfere with her duties to her children, to 
whom she showed a truly ideal devotion. Her son Ippolito followed a 
military career, and fought under Charles V. at the fall of Florence. 
To him her constant theme was the fame of his ancestors, one of whom 
had written a treatise on the heroic greatness of the ancient Romans. 
To her son Girolamo, who had entered the Church, she spoke of Azzo 
of Correggio, and how he had been esteemed by Petrarch, whom he 
had made archdeacon of the Parmesan church. Veronica never saw 
this cherished son in the crimson robes of the cardinalate, with which 
he was invested some time after her death. He had his mother's 
talents, and a character of much the same cast — honest and good on 
the whole, but hasty and choleric upon occasion. He acted as pleni- 
potentiary for the Farnese family at the Congress of Ghent, and at one 
time seemed a not unlikely candidate for the papacy after Pius V. But 
his understanding with the Court of Spain was the true cause of his 
rejection, though his amour with Claudia Rangoni had already 
brought him into discredit. 

This, however, was some time after Veronica's death, which took 
place on June 13, 1550. " On the following day," says Rinaldo Corso, 
" she was borne to the church of San Domenico, outside the walls of 
Correggio (where nearly all the lords of the city were buried), with a 
sprig of olive and one of laurel, her worthy emblems, in her mouth." 


]\Iy readers, who have seen in a former chapter how many artists 
were working in Correggio, and to whom I have now attempted to give 
some idea of the intellectual life of the court, can judge whether our 
painter actually grew up in a remote hamlet, or in a place peculiarly 
favourable to the development of his genius. 

When X'eronica, a bride of twenty-four, arrived in Correggio in 
150S, Antonio was but fourteen, though he had already shown signs of 
his exceptional gifts. Many who were interested in the development 
of his precocious genius brought him under the princess' notice. 
She conceived the most lively hopes of his future, and had him 
constantly about her. Mad we not the fear of positive criticism 
before our eyes, with its insistence on documents, and its legitimate 
scorn for mere hypothesis, however natural and obvious, we might 
indulge in one of those flights of fancy to which the art-historian 
of a less scientific age was prone. The Virgin in Correggio's 
JMadonna ami Child tcitk the Infant St. John, painted about 15 1 2-- 
15 15, is of a peculiar type, by no means beautiful, though her 
smiling sweetness of expression redeems her homeliness of feature. 
Is this happy mother a portrait of the good Veronica herself, whose 
two little sons were born, the one in January, 15 10, the other in 
February, 151 1 ? But we turn resolutely from such conjectures to 
questions of sober fact. 

Among such we may certainly class the kindly and intimate rela- 
tions which subsisted between the painter and the reigning house to 
the last days of his life. 

In 1 52 1 he had an audience of Manfredo in the palace in connec- 
tion with a deed of gift, by which his maternal uncle, Francesco 
Aromani, made over to him all his effects. The prince's intervention 
may have come about merely as a matter of administrative routine, 
and we by no means rely upon this alone as a proof of his intimacy 
with the painter. But we have other evidence of a less ambiguous 
kind. In 1532 Correggio assisted at the drawing up of the act 
whereby Manfredo appointed Paolo Brunorio his proxy, and em- 
powered him to receive reinvestiture on his behalf for all feoffs 
held by the Lords of Correggio under the Emperor Charles V. It 


is evident, therefore, that he was associated with matters of great 
interest and importance to the ruling family. But the crowning 
proof of the cordial relations existing between them is to be found 
in the fact that on January 24, 1534, he acted as one of the witnesses 
to the settlement of twenty thousand gold scudi on Chiara, daughter 
of Gianfrancesco of Correggio, on the occasion of her betrothal to 
Ippolito, son of Giberto and Veronica Gambara.^ Thus, on the most 
joyful and solemn event in her life, the betrothal of her first-born 
to his cousin, the great lady chose the famous painter for her witness, 
preferring him before princes and captains of her own caste. Never 
can she have more deeply felt the charms of a friendship founded not 
only on kindness, but on a mutual love and worship of art. The Muse 
and the painter joined hands to promote the happiness of two youthful 

It is supposed that Correggio accompanied Veronica on various 
occasions to Bologna, where she had many friends. She visited the 
city several times, and is known to have gone thither in 15 15, to be 
present at the meeting of Francis I. and Leo X. 

It is on this occasion that Correggio is supposed to have uttered the 
historic exclamation : " I too am a painter ! " before Raphael's St. 
Cecilia. But the story will not bear examination, for Sanzio's famous 
picture was not at Bologna in 15 15. The utterance must be referred 
to some later visit, and it is, indeed, far more likely to have escaped 
the painter at a mature age, when he also had produced his master- 
pieces, than in his youthful days. It is highly improbable that he, 
whose home was so near to Bologna, should never have visited 
the city to see the famous works of art collected there. Nor can 
we suppose that he never went from Correggio to Ferrara, the 
foils cl origo of his own art, nor from Parma to the neighbouring 
Piacenza, where Raphael's most sublime work crowned the altar of 
San Sisto.- 

Veronica was at Bologna again, it seems, in 1527; she certainly 
went there in 1529 to visit her brother Uberto, governor of the city at 

' Pungileoni, i. pji. 239 and 247 ; ii. p]). 127, 192-3, and 251. 
^ The Madonna di San Sisto, now at Dresden. 


that date ; ^ and again a few months later for the coronation of 
Charles V. Other visits are also referred to. 

Hut though Correggio possibly accompanied Veronica to Bologna, 
and undoubtedly saw some of Raphael's works, moral and historic 
probability are alike set at nought by this story, which must be 
relegated to the region of romance. .Such a boast was entirely out of 
keeping with Correggio's modest and reticent character. If there be 
any, however, who want further proof of the dubious nature of the 
legend, be it known to them that it was first related by Father Resta.'-^ 
Much uncertainty exists in connection with the works executed by the 
painter for the rulers of Correggio, and, more especially, for Veronica. 
It appears, as we shall see later, that one of these was a Ifcrodias. 
The chronicler, Lucio Zuccardi, who flourished in the first half of the 
seventeenth century, says that he decorated portions of the palace 
outside the walls of the city, in which Charles V. was lodged. The 
statement was repeated and embellished by Tiraboschi, who says that 
Correggio worked there in his youth by command of Veronica.^ 
Pungileoni, with more respect, perhaps, for his authority, assigns the 
work to Correggio's last years. The painter undoubtedly decorated 
certain rooms in the castle, but his work was done in preparation for 
the visit of Charles V., which fixes its date approximately. He must 
have worked there shortly before the first visit, in March 1530, or 
before the Emperor's return in 1532.' The castle, however, which 
stood to the east of the city, was demolished for strategic reasons in 
155;, during the war with Paul IV.'' Every trace therefore of such 
internal evidence as might have guided modern criticism to a decision 
of the question had perished many years before Zuccardi made the 
statement so confidently relied on by later writers. 

It is further recorded that Correggio worked in Francesca ol 
Brandenburg's palace, portions of which still exist in the city. We are 
of opinion, however, that if he had really painted any frescoes of 

' Veronica Gambara, Rime c kl/t'iv, p. 166. 

■' Tiraboschi, vi. p. 252 ; l^ungileoiii, i. p. 6 i ; Dottari, A\iuv//ii di Icffciv, vi. p. 381, etc. 

3 Op. cit. ii. p. 123, and vi. pp. 252-3. ^ Op. cit. i. p. 245 ; ii. [). 232. 

* Tiraboschi, ii. p. 123; Magnanini, p. 21. 


importance there, they would have been preserved, or at least some 
definite mention of them w^oiild be found in the pages of contemporary- 
historians. Certain fragments of decoration are still decipherable in 
the ruined palace, but there are no grounds vi^hatever for their ascrip- 
tion to Correggio. The frescoes in the upper room, already described, 
were painted in 1508, and are in all probability the work of Cesare di 
Reggio. Those in a room on the ground-floor, immediately to the left 
of the entrance, are perhaps later. They have been barbarously re- 
painted in oils, and completely destroyed. But there is nothing to 
suggest that they were ever of such merit as to warrant their attribu- 
tion to the master. Though of no great artistic importance, they must 
originally have been gay and effective as decorations. A frieze of Amorini 
at play runs round the vault, the centre of which, enclosed by the usual 
balustrade, simulates the blue of a southern sky, producing a pleasant 
sense of space and atmosphere. Pungileoni mentions other paintings 
which have now perished, dismissing them, however, as of little 
interest. Our knowledge of works possibly executed by Correggio 
for the ruling house is bounded by a few vague references and still 
vaguer conjectures. We may therefore conclude that if he received 
any such commission from his patrons, it was of slight importance. 

The court with which the Correggeschi kept up the most cordial 
relations was that of the Gonzaghi. Isabella d'Este was the lady to 
whom Veronica paid the most assiduous attention. The earliest ot 
Veronica's e.xtant letters is a note to Isabella, dated February i, 1503, 
when the writer was barely eighteen. It betrays evident emotion, a 
natural timidity in addressing the great lady who had honoured her 
with a letter. She modestly confesses herself " unequal to the lofty 
undertaking" of thanking Isabella adequately for her goodness, but 
gratefully acknowledges her favour, and subscribes herself her " servant 
eternally." ^ 

In time, as the intimacy between these two kindred spirits increased, 
the formality of the early letters is considerably abated, and Veronica's 
tone becomes less submissive. Renier says : " The correspondence 
between the two women must have been frequent, and there is reason 

1 Renier, op. cit. p. 442. 


to believe that the few letters which have come clown to us are very 
insufficient samples of the whole." 

When Isabella, idolised and acclaimed from her infancy, entered 
Mantua, a bride of sixteen, she was received with the utmost 
enthusiasm, not only by the citizens, but by some seventeen thousand 
strangers who had assembled to greet her.'' She was accounted the 
most cultured maiden in Italy, and "the most perfect specimen of that 
exquisite blossom, the woman of the Renaissance."- When she 
visited Ferrara to assist at the wedding of Lucrczia Borgia, she 
outshone all the assembled princesses. A devotee of the arts, she 
engaged in long and tedious litigation with an antiquary who sold her 
two counterfeit statues as antiques, writing meanwhile letter after 
letter containing orders for pictures by the great masters, pottery from 
Casteldurante, jewels, etc. She lived surrounded by an army of 
painters, sculptors, architects, makers of musical instruments, and 
musicians, among the latter the famous Jacopo da San Secondo, who 
is said to have been Raphael's model for the Apollo in his Parnassus. 
When Duke Valentino presented Michelangelo's Cupid to her, she 
immediately procured a Greek Cupid to place beside it for comparison. 
She corresponded with Giovanni Bellini, Leonardo da Vinci, and 
Buonarroti himself, and it was at her suggestion that Baldassarre 
Castiglione brought Giulio Romano to Mantua. 

A glamour of art and poetry surrounded her stately figure. With 
what emotion must artists and men of letters have entered her 
presence-chamber! How into.xicating must have been their homage! 
We see in fancy the little rooms, with their gilded and coffered 
ceilings, rich with traceries delicate as that of some masterpiece of 
the goldsmith's art, interspersed with shields bearing musical notes 
and the device Nee spc, nee mctu. Above, the walls are covered with 
tapestries and pictures by famous masters, the subjects and dimensions 
suggested by herself; below, they are panelled with intarsias, either in 
perspective, or representing groups of musical instruments. On every 

1 A. Luzio and R. Rcnier, M,i/ifova c Urbiuo. hahclla irEs/f e Elisahetta Gonzaga. 
Turin, 1893. 

- Pio Raina, E Orlando Iiinamorato del Boiardo, in La rl/a italiana ml Rinascimcnto, 
p. 325. Milan, 1S93. 


side, tables and stools are loaded with bronzes, medals, marbles, 
pottery, brocades, books, viols, lutes, and, among them all, sheaves 
of freshly gathered flowers. Etiquettes were waived in favour of those 
who could discourse to her of art or science, or show her some 
beautiful thing. Her eye was athirst for loveliness, her brain greedy 
of knowledge ! The artists and learned men who surrounded her, 
and felt the magic of her fascination, hailed her as one of the Pierides, 

sent by Jove for the consummation of the new culture. In her hours 
of solitude she read the ancient poets and historians, and the books her 
admirers had sent her and she herself had collected. Or she would 
pass her treasures in review, or write commissioning her friends to 
find her others ; or seek rela.xation at her harpsichord, while eye 
and mind found rest in contemplation of the wide and tranquil 
landscape beyond her palace walls. 



The social relations bctwecni the courts of Mantua and Correggio 
soon ripened into friendship. Borso da Correggio was the mediator in 
a dispute between Isabella and her husband, and the former acted as 
sponsor to Veronica's first-born son. 

A frequent visitor at the. court of Mantua from 1508 onwards was 
the gallant Nicolo da Correggio, a prince "who was an accomplished 



' 1 

/ : 


^\'j'mM:Mch''^m^ ^' 




'^^^MQ-Jmli '^^^m^mi 

-*r,._ ^ 


. ,/ 

^^HRnfc' 'iS 

cavalier and gentleman, a subtle diplomatist, a lover of the arts, and 
addicted to a lordly magnificence and luxury. Ladies loved him ior 
the easy grace of his manners, princes for his intelligence, dexterity, 
and valour, the public for his munificence, and the martial displays 
with which he indulged them." ^ He chose songs for Isabella and sent 

1 A. I.n/.io and R. Renier, A'm'/h da Conrggw {Giornak storico delhx leltcratiira 
italiaiia, vols. xxi. and xxii.). 



her his own, made suggestions for eclogues, triolets, sonnets, and 
translations from Virgil, furnished her with mottoes for medals, and 
lent her tragedies. He himself played a lyre sent him by the famous 
musician, Atalante Migliorotti. 

This deep and intense enjoyment of life in its cesthetic mani- 
festations he had drawn from the same source as Isabella. It had 
been instilled into him at the court of Ferrara, in familiar intercourse 
with Decembrio, Teofilo Calcagnini, Boiardo, and other philosophers 
and poets. Hence his entire sympathy with all the ideals and aspira- 
tions of his kinswoman. His mother was a member of the house of 
Este, and shared his passion for luxury and gallantry. Renowned for 
her grace, her magnificence, her gaiety and her social talents, she was 
called the Queen of Festivals. A distich of the period commemorates 
her gifts in these magniloquent lines : 

" Chi vuol vedere il paradiso in terra 
Vegga Donna Beatrice in una festa." 
(He who would see paradise on earth 
Should see Donna Beatrice at a festival.) 

One of Nicolo's most remarkable compeers at the court of the 
Gonzaghi was a monk from Correggio, whose speciality was a know- 
ledge of literary and artistic matters. He kept Isabella informed of 
all that came under his notice in this connection, spicing his reports, 
it was said, with a good deal of gossip. 

Nicolo and this priest were succeeded in the friendship of the 
Gonzaghi by Brachino Croce, also of Correggio, renowned for his 
administrative talents and his eloquence.^ 

The intercourse between Mantua and Correggio from frequent 
soon became constant and affectionate, facilities for communication 
being afforded by the excellent road uniting them. It is natural to 
suppose that Veronica gratified Isabella's taste for artistic novelties b)- 
tales of the youthful Allegri and the precocious promise of his first 
essays. Veronica, as we learn from Rinaldo Corso, was passionately 
fond of children. She was greatly interested in art, and the intimate 
friend of the Marchesa of Mantua, to whom she frequently sent her 
' D'Arco, (•'/>. (it. ii. p. 97. 


own children, and at whose court several natives of Correggio had 
sojourned, or were actually settled. What more probable than that 
Allegri's first introduction to Mantua should have been effected through 
one of these various channels of communication ? 

His intimacy with the ruling family of his native city is fully 
attested by documents. Correggese historians have preserved an old 
tradition, which affirms that the princes sought refuge in Mantua 
during the outbreak of plague in their own city, taking with them the 
youthful artist. Writing to Isabella about Correggio and one of his 
pictures, Veronica makes use of a very significant pronoun, which 
leaves no doubt as to the affectionate interest felt by the two ladies in 
the painter. She calls Correggio " our Antonio." 

At the beginning of the sixteenth century Italian style was as yet 
free from the hyperbolic sentimentality afterwards introduced from 
Spain. Even among persons of the same family, especially those of 
noble birth, the use of endearing adjectives and possessive pronouns 
was by no means frequent. It was accounted a graceful and cordial 
act of recognition on the part of Isabella herself to speak of Eleonora 
of Correggio as " our Eleonora." 

When therefore Veronica and Isabella spoke of Correggio as " our 
Antonio," they claimed a certain share in his glory which is undoubtedly 
theirs by right. Women have a keener and more delicate perception 
of genius than men. They have the same skill in developing the 
nascent soul as in handling the infant body. Those whose light touch 
alleviates the wounds of the tortured body can best pour the balm 
of healing upon moral suffering. Sister Celeste's figure is the most 
beautiful in Galileo's history. The more sheltered life of women pre- 
serves their capacity for belief. In the heat of the daily struggle 
men become sceptical and intolerant. They are impatient of persons 
and things they consider unimportant, though these may sometimes 
contain the germs of a glorious future. Who shall say that the 
radiant grace of " our Antonio's " works did not owe its first impulse 
to the smiles and encouragement with which two noble and cultured 
women rewarded his early efforts .'' 




THE first of Correggio's 
\vorks mentioned in exist- 
ing records is the so-called 
Madonna of San Francesco. In 
his will, dated July 4, 15 14, a 
certain Quirino Zuccardi left a 
house to the Franciscan monas- 
tery at Correggio. This legacy 
he directed should be used to 
cover the cost of a j)icture for 
the high altar of the church. 
Zuccardi's heir, Nicola Selli of 
I'arma, a citizen of Correggio, 
elected to keep the house. He 
"'" """'"''" '■""^'■"1' '^■'" I'-'^i'j ■" i'-'""a) offered to compound for its pos- 
session with a sum of ninety-five ducats, sixty-four soldi, to be paid 


to Girolamo Catanei, the Franciscan bursar and procurator, the money 
to l)e spent on the proposed picture. The offer was readily accepted 
by the reverend bursar, who duly fixed a limit of time for the setde- 
ment. About six weeks later (August 30), Catanei, Antonio Zuccardi, 
Tommaso Affarosi, syndic of the monastery, and a notary, presented 
themselves at the house of Correggio, then a youth of barely twenty 
years old, and commissioned him to paint the altar-piece. The agree- 
ment drawn up on this occasion gives a minor detail of some interest. 
The preliminaries were discussed and the contract made in the 
painter's modest bed-room on the ground-floor. Why, it may be 
asked, was not some more suitable place chosen — the monastery itself, 
the notary's house, the palace of the city ? The answer is obvious. 
We are convinced that Allegri had already painted the 67. Martha 
(of which we shall have more to say presently) for the Church of the 
Misericordia, and that this picture had, in fact, determined the choice 
of an artist for the new commission. But in a matter of such im- 
portance, the syndics naturally wished to satisfy themselves in person 
concerning the young man's proposed treatment of the theme. It 
was therefore necessary that he should show them his sketches and 
drawings. We can picture the whole scene : the worthy commis- 
sioners seated, absorbed in their scrutiny of the smiling Saints and 
Madonnas ; Correggio arranging them in the most favourable light, 
and noting the impression produced in the attentive faces of his 
critics ; lastly, Pellegrino Allegri in the back-ground, delighted at 
the fresh honour bestowed on his youthful son. The deed, in fact, 
declares him to have been present, acting on behalf of Antonio, a 
minor. There is no mention, however, of another person, Bernardina 
Aromani, the painter's mother, who was probably close at hand, 
peering through the open door, her heart swelling with emotion. 

That the syndics duly admired his works is evident from the sum 
they agreed to pay — a hundred gold ducats. This was a very con- 
siderable price to offer even to a mature artist, much more so to a 
youth whose career was scarcely begun. The notary formally con- 
cluded the bargain. Fifty ducats were paid down on account, the 
rest to be handed over on completion of the work. Antonio's patrons 


were no less exact in the matter of materials. The panel on which 
the picture was to be painted was contracted for in another deed of 
October 4, whereby Master Pietro Landini agreed to deliver it within 
the month. 

Meanwhile Correggio was to prepare his cartoon, and be ready to 
begin the picture early in November. 

On March 24, 15 15, two payments are recorded, one to Luca 
Ferrari for certain irons for the frame, and one, of ten ducats, to the 
painter for a miara of gold to be placed on the altar-piece. 

The picture was almost finished. A few more days of toil, and 
the task would be at an end. On April 4, Master Antonio Allegri 
received the " last payment," in the presence of Messer Tommaso 
Farosi, syndic of the monastery, Messer Gian Ludovico Montesino, 
the Padre Predicatore [Prcac/tiiig Father), Friar Giacomo da Ceva, 
and the Vicar of the monastery. 

This entry is followed by various others for expenses connected 
with the altar-piece, as : whitewashing the chapel, constructing a 
scaffolding, providing a curtain for the picture. Then come certain 
payments made to Landini, who had prepared the panel, and to the 
painter himself for " blue on the frame," no doubt the ground-work of 
the gold ornaments.^ 

It is therefore certain that this extraordinary work was completed 
by the young man in five months ! 

It was carefully preserved in its original place until 1638. 
Towards the end of March in this year, the French painter, Jean 
Boulanger, arrived at Correggio, having entered the service of the 
Duke of Modena a few days before. He installed himself on a 
scaffold behind the high altar, made a hasty copy of the picture, and 
departed. On April 1 2 it was rumoured in Correggio that the 
original had been carried off, and replaced by Boulanger's copy. The 
whole country-side was in an uproar. The church was besieged by 
an angry crowd, calling down vengeance on the thieves. The great 
bell of the commune was rung, and the Anziani, followed by a throng 

' 'riraboschi, vi. pp. 253 and 258 ; I'ungilconi, ii. j)]!. 65-69. Tiraboschi erroneously 
supposes this i)icture to liave been painted for the Minorites of Carpi. 


of persons of all classes, asscmbletl in the ante-room of Signer 
Annibalc INTolza, the Duke of Modena's representative at Correggio. 
None ot those present, with the one exception of Molza, had any 
suspicion as to the real author of ihc. theft, as they roundly called it. 
The leaders stated their case as follows, in the presence of all : " The 
robbery was probably carried out by the painter aforesaid, with the 
consent or connivance of some of the fathers of the monastery. And 
therefore the people, discovering the theft of a picture so greatly 
prized and valued by the whole community at all times, and recog- 
nising its loss as a special grief to the Council General, brings the 
matter before the illustrious Governor of the city, begging for his help 
and favour in inducing his Serene Highness, the gracious and bene- 
ficent father of his people, to exert his authority for the discovery 
of the delinquent." The poor Correggese, had, as a fact, cast them- 
selves bodily into the mouth of the wolf! Boulanger and the monks 
had but obeyed the mandate of the Duke, who must have laughed in 
his sleeve at these humble appeals for help ! Molza wrote to the 
Duke, setting forth what had happened, and concluded his promised 
mediation by remarking that he could not understand why the people 
were making such a commotion !' It was not long before the picture 
appeared In the Estense collection, where it remained for over a 
century, until the sale made by Francesco III. to Augustus III., 
King of Poland, and Elector of Saxony. In the summer of 1746 it was 
taken to Dresden, with other works by Correggio, of which we shall 
speak in their place. " Duke Francesco was overwhelmed with debts, 
partly a heritage from RInaldo, who had been greatly embarrassed by 
the acquisition of Mirandola and Concordia, and whose resources had 
been drained by incessant wars, partly the result of his own malad- 
ministration, and the expenses of fresh campaigns. But the sale of 
the gems of his gallery, which, while it robbed Modena and Italy of 
their artistic patrimony, remedied no crying evil, and healed no single 
wound in the body politic, was a disgraceful action. Francesco had 
little claim indeed to the popularity he seems to have enjoyed, to judge 
by the bronze equestrian statue erected in his honour by the citizens 
' Tiraboschi, vi. pp. :!53-54 ; Magnanini, p. 23. 



during his lifetime. Yet there were some, perhaps, who remembered 
the Dresden sale, when the mutilated statue rolled along the streets 
of Modena at the time of the French Revolution."' 

Let us return to the picture. 

The figures are assembled under a wide open loggia, on either 
side of which are two columns with Ionic capitals and a pilaster. 
The lofty throne on which the Virgin is seated rises in the midst 
against a background of sunny landscape and distant hills in 

delicate perspective. The base of the throne is decorated in 
chiaroscuro on a red ground with the episodes of the Fall, Adam 
and Eve appearing in three distinct groups among the tree- 
trunks of the earthly Paradise. From this base rises a massive 
circular column, surmounted by a marble dado, adorned with 
narrow fillets and a fine tracery. The greater part of the surface 
of the column is occupied by an oval medallion, surrounded by a 
garland, in the centre of which is a seated figure of Moses holding 
the tables of the law. The medallion is supported by two cherubs, 
whose uplifted left arms rest against the dado, a device by which they 
1 .\. \'L'nturi, La R. Gallcria estciise in Modena, p. 320. Modena, 18S3. 


are welded into ihc architectural scheme in the shape of living 
caryatids. Little is seen of the upper part of the throne save 
the double shafts of the supporting lateral columns, the rest being 
hidden by the figure of the Virgin and her flowing draperies. Her 
knees are slightly inclined to the left, her feet rest on a stool, and her 
face and the upper part of her figure are turned to the right. With 
a gentle smile she extends one hand, motioning St. Francis of Assisi 
to kneel and adore the Infant whom she holds on her lap with the 
other. The Saint stoops to obey her, slightly raising his robe, 
but keeping his eyes rapturously fixed on the Child, to whom he 
raises his face with a look of adoring tenderness, laying his left hand 
on his breast, where an opening in the tunic reveals the wound in his 
side. In the penumbra beyond, St. Anthony of Padua, with book 
and lily, looks out at the spectator. On the opposite side, close 
to the throne, on the base of which she leans her right arm, St. 
Catherine gazes in holy ecstasy at the Child. With her right hand 
she clasps the hilt of a great sword, and the palm of martyrdom ; 
with the left she draws up her robe, displaying her foot, which rests 
on the nave of the wheel. Beside it lies her crown. In the 
foreground stands St. John the Baptist, a lofty and commanding 
figure, holding in one hand the long reed cross, and the folds of the 
mantle which falls over his goatskin tunic, and with the other directing 
the gaze of the spectator to the Lamb of God. Ten cherub heads 
appear in a circle among the radiant clouds above, and two angels, 
joining hands, hover under the higgta on a level with the capitals. 
Only one of these figures is winged ; his face is turned almost full 
on the spectator, while his companion, flying in the opposite direction, 
is seen in profile. On the circle of St. Catherine's wheel is the 
inscription : " Antonivs de Alegris. P." 

Beautiful as the picture is intrinsically, it appears almost miraculous 
when we consider it as the work of a youth of twenty. It has defects, 
of course, and reveals the impressions gleaned in various studios here 
and there. But the defects are so unimportant, the impressions from 
without so neutralised by strong personal elements, that the work fully 
merits its great reputation. 

As Meyer very justly remarks : " To appreciate the wonderful 



originality of Correggio at this early age, we need but compare his 
picture with the Man-iage of the \'irgin (now in the Brera at Milan) 
painted by Raphael when he was somewhat older. Here the influence 
of Perugino almost effaces the painter's own individuality." ^ 

In Correggio's picture, reminiscences of Mantegna are clearly 
apparent in the figure of the Virgin, and the influence of Costa 
shows itself in the chiaroscuro medallion on the throne. Beyond 
this, we can find no indubitable traces of alien inspiration. Mengs - 
indeed, and Meyer ^ thought they discerned the Leonardesque type, 
not only in the St. John (where, perhaps, they were right), but also 
in the Virgin, whose characteristics are derived from a very different 
source. The utmost diversity of opinions has been based on the 
sentiment of the various heads. Criticism, refining on the subtleties 
proper to a metaphysical treatise, has discovered in these, echoes of 
the Umbrian School, and of Francia, transmitted perhaps by Ferrari- 
Bianchi.* One critic declares the head of St. Catherine to be derived 
from Francia ; ^ another sees in it the influence of Perugino.'^ 

There is certainly a Peruginesque air about the head ; but this hardly 
justifies the writer in sending Correggio to study at Bologna (a 
hypothesis we have already dismissed) in order to account for his 
supposed familiarity with a famous picture by the Umbrian master, still in 
that city. It is well known that after long importunity, Isabella d'Este 
obtained certain pictures by Perugino, which were brought to Mantua 
during the first years of the sixteenth century.'' The most notable 
defect of the picture is perhaps the exaggerated length of ihe Virgin's 
body from waist to feet. Our great admiration for the work not- 
withstanding, we must admit that standing upright, the figure would be 
gigantic. Some of the foreshortenings too, are hard and awkward. 
But we may point out innumerable beauties by way of compensation. 
The simplicity of the composition, which is of the traditional fifteenth 
century character, is enriched by the great variety of attitudes, at once 
reticent and animated. This variety is much enhanced by the supple 

1 Correggio, p. 98. - II., p. 161. = Correggio, p. 94. 

•* Op. cit., loc. cit. ^ Morelli, Le opere dei maestri italiatii, p. 122. 

" Alberto Rondani, Come visse il Correggio, in the Nuova Antologia, Hi. \\ 45 (Rome, 
1894), and // Correggio, a .study published at intervals in the Gazzetta di Parma, 1S90. 
"' Giornale di erudizione artistica, ii. pp. 144 and 159. Perugia, 1873. 


and expressive play of tlie hands and feet. The chiaroscuro and 
colour, though of course far behind those of his later works, is already 
remarkable for its agreeable vigour and transparency. The air 
circulates freely about the finely modelled figures. The light is 
diffused above them in a masterly fashion, and breaks gaily over 
the wide and simple landscape, where again Meyer recognised a 
Leonardesque breadth of treatment, though he might have sought 
his parallel more opportunely among Ferrarese examples. But if 
these excellences, and the scrupulous accuracy of the technique are 
sufficiently remarkable in the work of an artist of twenty, wc must 
give a yet greater meed of admiration to the expression and sentiment 
of the heads, in the rendering of which the young master showed 
himself equal, if not superior, to the greatest artists of his day. 

We may now inquire what other works exist, painted by Correggio 
before, or at about the same date as his first great altar-piece. 

To determine this question, it was of course necessary to make a 
careful study of this, his first authenticated work. Such a study was 
undertaken of late years, by Giovanni Morelli, who made several 
additions to the scanty list of Correggio's juvenile works. But we 
cannot follow him in assigning some of these to so early a date as 
151 1. The utmost we are inclined to concede is that they may have 
been painted in the following year, or, more probably, in 15 13, either 
while he was in Mantua, or immediately after his return from that 
city. In each of the little pictures in question, some Mantegnesque 
motive appears among the Emilian elements. 

My friend. Dr. Gustavo Frizzoni, of Milan, owns a small and 
much injured panel, formerly in the Costabili Gallery at Ferrara, 
representing the Mystic Marriage of St. Catherine. The enthroned 
Madonna bends slightly to the right, holding on her lap the Infant 
Jesus, who, taking the Saint's fingers in one little hand, offers the ring 
with the other. St. Catherine kneels modestly before them ; the 
crown, the sword, and the broken wheel lie on the steps of the throne. 
On one side of the group stands St. Francis, his eyes fixed on the 
Infant Bridegroom, on the other St. Dominic, holding a book and a 
lily. St. Anne, seated behind the Virgin, extends her right hand in 
benediction over the head of St. Catherine. Behind the group is a 


sculptured recess. " The modelling of the hands," says Morelli, " is 
still that of Lorenzo Costa, the vivacity of the colour recalls Mazzo- 
lino, but in the expression and attitude of St. Francis the future 
Correggio stands revealed. In shape and ornament the throne is very 
like that in the Dresden picture." ^ This resemblance, however, is 
limited to the footstool below, the central ornament of which is an 

oval medallion of Ahrahaiifs Sacrifice. Morelli does not notice that 
on the back of the throne, above, there is a roundel, as in Mantegna's 
S. Maria della Vittoria ; and that the niche behind is wreathed with 

' Lc op, 
Painters, i. 

Costalnii, part iii. p. 60. Ferrara, 1841) attributes this picture to Fra Bartolommeo, and 
says that other persons had ascribed it to Raphael. He adds, however, "T. Geyser, 

dt'i maestri ita/uuii, y. 123. .See also Morclli's two volumes, Italian 
255, and ii. p. 148. Caniillo Laderchi {Descrizione dclla Quadreria 

In the Uffui Gallery, 


one of the garlands of fruit and flowers so often introduced by the 
Vicenzan master. The long, scanty folds of St. Catherine's robe are 
also very Mantegnesque in treatment. 

In the Uffizi^ thcr(> is another small picture by Correggio, 
attributed to Titian in the old catalogues, but declared by several 
writers to be a Ferrarrse work. Morelli restored it to its rightful 
author. Its value is much enhanced by its unusually fine state of 

The Virgin, enthroned in a mass of snowy clouds, supports the 
Child upon her lap. Both are turned to the left, entranced by the 
music of a youthful winged angel, who plays the viol beside them. 
Another angel behind them sings to the accompaniment of a lyre. 
Around the shining aureole above is a cluster of rosy cherub heads, 
as in the San Francesco altar-piece. The colour is rich and glowing, 
and especially brilliant in the Virgin's crimson robe, and her blue 
m.antle with its green lining. The sentiment is well sustained. The 
attention of all is fixed on the angelic music as if there were but one 
mind between them. Even in these early works we find certain 
characteristic peculiarities of the painter.- But the folds of the veil 
on the Virgin's breast, and, as we have already pointed out, the type 
of the Infant Jesus, recall Mantegna. 

A less interesting work of this period is the lYa/hity, now in the 
possession of Cav. Benigno Crespi of Milan. It was in London some 
few years ago, and was there described as of the " School of Dosso." ^ 
We have already had occasion to mention it in dealing with Mantegna's 
influence upon Correggio. We will now examine it somewhat more 
closely. The stillness and subdued radiance of early morning are 
diffused over a landscape marvellous in its poetry, its sentiment, and 
its delicate elaboration. To the right rise the ruins of an antique 
temple — a marble column, with fragments of shattered walls and arches. 
The rough beams of the stable roof and the manger-cradle rest 
against them. Immediately behind is a hilly slope, dotted with lofty 

of Leipzig, an artist and connoisseur of the first rank, maintained it to be a work of 
Correggio, painted in his early manner, certain rare examples of which are to be found in 
other galleries, where they are accounted gems of the greatest value." 

1 No. 1,002. - Morelli, Italian Painters, ii. p. 149. ' Op. cit. 150. 


trees, their scanty leaves bending under the morning breeze, and 
dappling the white-flecked radiance of the hmiinous sky beyond. 
Two Httle figures of sleeping shepherds lie on either side of the first 
and largest trunk. To the left of the valley rises another hill, dusky 
and wooded, and stretching thence, a vast plain, like the valley 
of the Po, as seen from the Emilian hills. The figures are disposed 
in a little meadow, gay with plants and shrubs, which suggests the 
treatment of Dosso. The Infant Jesus slumbers in the midst on a 
linen cloth spread over a truss of straw ; the Virgin and St. Elizabeth 
kneel on either side in adoration. The Virgin's arms are crossed upon 
her breast ; St. Elizabeth, bending forward admiringly, supports the 
little St. John on her right knee. He, too, hangs lovingly over the 
sleeping Child. St. Joseph leans on a cask behind the Virgin, and in 
the middle distance, between her and St. Elizabeth, a youthful angel, 
winged, and robed in white, points out the Divine Babe to two 
shepherds, who, leaning over a hedge of interwoven boughs, gaze in 
astonishment at the Child. Rays of golden light fall on him from 
above. Two cherubs, hovering over the head of the Virgin, stand out 
in relief against the dark mass of the ruins. Correggio's characteristic 
sentiment and technique are displayed to greater perfection in this 
than in the other small pictures described, though it has not escaped 
injury. What may be called studio reminiscences are apparent in the 
flying angels, in the group of St. Elizabeth and St. John (the latter 
undoubtedly inspired by Mantegna's picture in the Church of Sant' 
Andrea at Mantua), in the broad Costesque cast of the draperies as 
they fall about the feet. But the painter's brilliant personality 
dominates the whole. The angel who addresses the shepherds beams 
with a mild and heavenly radiance ; in the Virgin's rapt expression 
we read her holy joy at having brought forth such a son. There are 
certain obvious blemishes, such as a hardness in some of the fore- 
shortenings (the right hand of the angel, for instance), and trifling 
defects of treatment in the draperies ; but the picture is a little gem 
as a whole. The colour-harmony, brilliant as the plumage of a 
humming-bird, is Ferrarese, as in Frizzoni's picture. The enamelled 
reds and azures of the Virgin's robes are effulgent as those of Costa 
after he had come under the sway of Francia. St. Elizabeth's 

the Palace at Signiaringen 


draperies are in a lower key ; and it is curious to note the Mantc- 
o-nesque influence proclaiming itscit', not only in the conception, but 
to a certain extent in the colouring of this figure. 

Judging by the oval types of the heads, the flow of the draperies 
about the feet, and their scanty, perpendicular folds, the sombre tones 
of the landscape and of the colour generally, we are inclined to think 
the so-called Christ taking leave of /lis Mother before the Passion, now 
the property of Mr. R. H. Benson, a work of about the same date as 
Signor Crespi's picture. Here we agree with Morelli rather than with 
Dr. J. P. Richter, who supposes it to have been painted about 15 17, 
two years, consequently, after the Madonna of San Francesco, and 
about two years before the frescoes in the Camera di San Paolo, which 
we think quite impossible. We shall presently see what types and 
colours he affected at that period. 

Attention was first drawn to this picture towards the end of the 
eighteenth century, when the Abbe Carlo Bianconi wrote thus to 
Tiraboschi : " It has a very decided look of Correggio. . . . There 
is all the grandeur and simplicity of the painter, together with some- 
thing of the dryness usual in his early works." ^ 

It was then at Milan, in the possession of one Rossi, whence it passed 
to the Parlatore family, of Florence. To the right is a portion of a 
temple, with a recess, and a column with an Ionic capital. Beyond 
lies a peaceful valley traversed by a river, the waters of which flow 
into the Sea of Galilee. The quiet waters of the lake are dotted 
with little islands. Streaks of pale light illumine the sky. This part 
of the picture bears a strong resemblance to the Crespi example, both 
in the landscape and the architecture. 

On his knees, his arms folded on his breast, Jesus leans forward to 
the Virgin, who falls into the Magdalen's arms, overcome with emotion. 
St. John watches the painful scene from behind the group, his hands 
devoutly clasped. The sentiment of the episode is vividly and touch- 
ingly rendered, notably in the resigned humility of the Saviour's 
attitude, in the anguished face of the Virgin, and in the expressive 

^ Tiraboschi, vi. p. 2S7. Lanzi, op. a'f. Morelli, ii. ]>. 150. Frizzoni, Arte italiaiia 
dd Rinasdmcnto, y. 356. IllKstratcd Catalo^^uc of -coor/^s of tlic Sclwol of Fcrnini— Bologna, 
pp. 16-17. London, 1894. 


action of her long, thin hands. - The left falls helplessly beside her, 
but the right is raised in a gesture that seems to say : " Arise 
and go." 

The pictorial elements are Ferrarese, but the soul that animates the 
conception is the soul of Correggio. The same may be said of the 
Saint Martha, also in London, in Lord Ashburton's collection. 

The figures in this picture are very simply disposed. St. Peter 
and St. Leonard stand on either side, in the foreground. Between 
them, but a little further back, are St. Martha and St. Mary Magdalen. 
The background represents the heart of a wood, a mass of close- 
growing foliage and tree-trunks, on one of which a woodpecker is 
perched. St. Martha, whose face expresses a gentle melancholy, leads 
a little dragon by a string. St. Peter, whose attention she seems to 
inv^oke, looks at the creature with knitted brows. A gentle smile 
hovers on the lips of the Magdalen. St. Leonard, on the other hand, 
gazes heavenward in devout ecstasy, holding in his right hand his 
prison-fetters. Morelli was the first to include this picture among 
Correggio's juvenile works, that is to say, among those painted before 
the Madonna of San Francesco} 

All other biographers, as far as we know, assign it to the year 15 18.- 

We have no hesitation in saying that we agree most absolutely 
with Morelli. The traditional arrangement of the figures, the long, 
scanty folds of the drapery, many of them perfectly straight, the 
modelling ol the slender hands, the fantastic naivete displayed in 
the treatment of the dragon, the facial types, the attitudes, the very 
defects, insist on the afliliation of this work to the Frizzoni and Crespi 
examples. The St. Martha is true sister to the St. P^rancis in Friz- 
zoni's Marriage of St. Catherine. To assign a later date than that of 
the Dresden altar-piece to this picture would be to upset the entire 
system of evolution as applied to Correggio's ecnvre. Meyer, in 
fact, who dated it 1518, was much perplexed by the consequent 
necessity of reconciling its traditional simplicity of conception and 
forms with the free treatment of the Repose in Egypt in the Uffizi. 

^ Lc vpcrc dci maestri italiaiii, \i. 124. Italian Pain tc is, ii. p. 15 J. 
- Pungileoni, i. p. 59 et sec/. Bigi, Betta vita e delte opere di A. A., p. 52. INIeycr, 
pp. 101-104, 365, 458. Richter, Correggio, in Kunst und Kiinstler, p. 10. 


Of this work he possessed a copy, and, according to him, it was 
painted before the St. JMarlha. 

This chronological confusion, however, was based on a historical 
error, or rather, on the misinterpretation of certain documents, 
which we will briefly examine. 

In a will dated December 16, 15 17, a certain Melchiorre Fassi 
bequeathed his estate to the church of San Ouirino at Correggio, 
on condition that the church authorities should forthwith build a 
chapel with an altar, and provide it with an altar-piece, representing St. 
Peter, St. Leonard, St. .Martha, and St. Mary Magdalen. The church, 
which had iallen down some three years before, was in course of re- 
construction, but the work must have gone on very slowly, for it 
was not finished till 1550. Maving waited some time for the carrying 
out of his conditions, Fassi made another will on August 2Q, 1528, 
renewing his bequest to the church of San Ouirino, but associating 
the church of .San Domenico in the benefit. He reiterated his former 
stipulation as to building the chapel, and providing the picture, adding 
further that the figure of the Madonna should be introduced in the 
latter, as well as the four saints already mentioned. Dissatisfied after 
a time, he changed his mind altogether, making a third will, by which 
he left everything to the church and hospital of Santa Maria della 
Misericord ia, where a mass was to be said in perpetuity for the repose 
of his soul at his oi^'it altar of St. Martha. A picture of the saint 
must therefore have already existed here, and there is no reason to 
doubt the testimony of various writers, among them the chronicler 
Zuccardi, that this was the work of Correggio. 

It has, nevertheless been suggested that Fassi actually succeeded 
in getting his picture painted by Correggio in 1517, and that, not being 
able to put it in the church of San Ouirino, he placed it in .Santa 
Maria della MIsericordia instead, ordering another in 152S, with the 
same saints, and the additional figure of the Virgin. His insistence 
on the subject of the picture is to be explained by his special 
devotion to these four saints, under whose protection he must have 
supposed himself to be. 

There is absolutely no foundation for the conjecture that the picture 
was ordered in 1517, and painted early in 1518. None of the documents 



quoted justify such a conclusion, cither directly or indirectly. Neither 
do they mention the name of any artist in connection with the work. 

All we know with any certainty is, that in 1528 Fassi confirmed the 
bequest of 1517, repeating his conditions as to the picture. 

But how, it may be asked, are we to explain the fact that there was 
a picture in the IMiscricordia of the four saints mentioned in the 
documents .'' In the most natural and simple manner possible. Fassi, 
who was familiar with Correggio, as we know from a deed of July 14, 
1517, to which they acted as joint witnesses, had commissiont-d him to 
paint a picture for his altar in the Misericordia some years before. 
When the church of San Ouirino was restored, his devotion to the 
four saints again found expression in a desire to see them figure on 
another altar. The slow progress made by the builders caused the 
successive alterations in his will. We have now seen that none 
of the documents in cjuestion support the theory that the picture 
was painted immediately after the drawing up of the first will. On 
the other hand, the character of the work itself clearly points to the 
conclusion that it belongs to a much earlier date than 15 18, when 
Correggio had shown his mastery of a broader and more confident 
style in several examples of his art. The picture remained in its 
place for a long time. There is a legend that it was disfigured by 
a coat of dark varnish, to prevent it from being carried off like the 
Madonna of San Francesco and the Repose in Fgypt) If so, we 
can only pity those who adopted an absurd expedient without ob- 
taining the desired result! The picture crossed the seas, the varnish, 
if it ever existed, was removed, and its original beauties are now- 
displayed to alien eyes. 

These early works, the dense and vigorous tones 01 which recall 
Costa in his second period, and Francia, are followed by a little series, 
of less importance as compositions, but lighter, more transparent, and 
more limpid in colour. 

We may take the )'oung /uuin, or Piping; S//ep//eri/, in the Munich 
Gallery as the first of this series. Seated on a knoll at the foot of a 
clump of trees, he holds the pipe to his lips, and plays. To his 

' Tiraboschi, vi. p. 256. I'ungilconi, ii. j). 93; iii. pp. ;oi and 275. MaUini, S/iidi 
intorno al Correggio, ]). 72 cti-. 


I ihe Collection of Lard Ashburton. 


right lies a kind i)t" lute ; on the opposite side, beyond the clustering 
foliage, opens a little valley with a browsing animal. The discortlant 
tones of the sky and mountains are remarkable, and the treatment 
of the leaves is very curious, especially in the solitary tree to the 
left, but this peculiarity is readily explained if we remember in 
what school Correggio received his first training. These, however, 
together with one or two other unusual traits, convinced Otto Mundler 
that the picture was the work of Pahiia Vecchio. Even Morelli sup- 
posed it to be \'cnetian for some time, and suggested Lorenzo Lotto 
as the author. There arc, in fact, certain affinities between Correggio 
and the latter, especially in the 
illumination of certain pictures, 
which we consider purely acci- 
dental. Morelli after vvards cor- 
rected his first impression, re- 
cognising certain characteristics 
of Correggio. such as the curved 
shin, the peculiar crispness of 
the hair, and the straight folds 
of the drapery.^ 

Pungileoni tells us that "in 
the Casa Ravizzi at Correggio 
there was a picture of a shep- 
herd adjusting a pipe to his 
lips." - This would seem at 
the first blush to indicate the in the Munich G.iicr ■ ' 

Munich Faun ; but the state- 
ment is taken from Brunorio, who goes on to say that the picture in 
question was a half-length figure of a shepherd playing the bagpipes, 
a description which excludes all possibility of identity. 

Two small pictures closely resembling each other are to be 
found, one in the Communal Museum at Pavia, the other in the 
Municipal Museum at Milan. The former has been much injured 
by unskilful restoration and varnishing ; the latter, though transferred 
to canvas, is still in fair condition. In both, the delicate type of the 

1 .Morclli, Italnui Faiiitcis, ii. p. 198. ~ Op. at. i. p. 73 ; ii. p. 114. 


smiling Madonna is closely allied to that of the Virgin in the Franciscan 
altar-piece. The little panel at Pavia originally belonged to the 
Malaspina family. On a slip of cardboard fastened to the back the 
name and arms of Luigi Malaspina of Sannazaro are still to be deci- 
phered. The Virgin lays one hand under the arm of the Infant 
Jesus, who leans from her lap towards the little .St. John. St. Joseph 

stands to the 
left, and to the 
right a St. Eliza- 
beth of a pro- 
nounced Man- 
tegnesque type. 
The old ascrip- 
tion of this panel 
to Francia, and 
of the small pic- 
ture in the I'fhzi 
to a Ferrarese 
master,, attract- 
ed the attention 
oi Morelli, who 
wrote as follows : 
"It is strange 
that Correggio's 
early works at 
Florence and at 
Pavia should 
have been attri- 
buted, the one to the school of Ferrara, the other to Francia, but that 
neither should ever have been ascribed to Mantegna." ^ The dis- 
tinguished critic insinuates that this is an argument against the theory 
of Mantegna's influence on Correggio. The little panel in the Uffizi 
was, as a fact, more persistently ascribed to Titian than to a Ferrarese 
source. But setting this point aside, we can attach no importance 
whatever to the attribution of the Pavia picture to Francia ; its author 
^ I.e operc d(i iiun-stil italiaiii, y. 124, note 1. 


he Cnmmunal C-.lllei-y, 


must have lacked the most elementary knowledge of the Bolognese 
master. Ferrarese elements, especially noticeable in the softness of 
contours and colom-s, do not, and could not fail to appear in Correggio's 
juvenile works. His own temperament, the atmosphere in which he 

was reared, and the influence of the masters he studied under in his 
native city or in Mantua, all combined to produce such a result. 
But we have already fully discussed this question. The presence of 
these F"errarese elements in his works sufficiently explains why they 
were never attributed to Mantegna, an artist of the strongest in- 
dividuality, whose robust power of expression verged at times on 


the harsh and violent. But though we admit his influence on 
Correggio's style to have been sHght, we cannot minimise its import- 
ance in relation to the hitter's conceptions, and his enthusiastic experi- 
ments in the foreshortening of the human body. 

The somewhat larger picture at Milan, formerly in the Ambro- 
siana, represents the Virgin seated. The beautiful Babe on her lap 
rests his right arm on the little St. John's left, and gazes in 
astonishment at the cross the latter shows him. The painter has 
relieved the high tones of the figures by the introduction of a pilaster, 
one side of which is in deep shadow ; the other is enriched with 
ornaments. The dark portion must have been repainted at some 
time, for it is impossible that Correggio could have laid on the crude, 
strong tint which makes the shadow look like a hole in the picture. 
Some branches of foliage ajjpear in the middle, and beyond these 
stretches a valley, watered by a river which breaks into a little cascade. 
As in the Pavia picture, the Virgin's mantle is drawn over her head 
and falls across her right cheek, throwing it into shadow. Her eyes 
are half-closed, the eyelids widely distended. This picture, which 
formerly belonged to the Counts Bolognini, has been transferred from 
panel to canvas, and slightly cleaned. 

The type of the Madonna having enabled us to class these two 
pictures together, may further help us in the case of two others, 
one in Prince Leopold von Hohenzollern's gallery at Sigmaringen, the 
other a bequest from the Campori family to the Estense gallery at 
Modena. The forms are less meagre. The Virgin's face is more 
softly rounded, her nose is shorter and less sharply defined. The 
hands, though still long and slender, are slightly thicker in the fingers. 
The children, too, are sturdier and plumper. 

The Madonna of the Campori picture bends over the Child, who 
lies on her lap, a linen cloth drawn round his legs. He catches at her 
forefinger with his left hand, and stretches out his right, as If begging 
to be lifted. The action of the two little hands is a wonderful study 
of infant-life, in the rendering of which Correggio is unsurpassed. 

This picture was at one time in the castle of Soliera (some seven 
miles from Correggio), which was stormed and taken by Duke Cesare 


in 1599, after the slaughter of Marco Pio, its owner. In 1636, when 
Cardinal Campori bought the feoff for his nephew Pietro, the picture 
was found in the chapel of the castle. It was first recognised as a 
work of Correggio 
by the painter, 
\'incenzo Rasori.' 
The Sigmar- 
ingen picture is 
a finer and more- 
elaborate work. 
The pensive Ma- 
donna sits in front 
of a bower of leafy 
verdure. The 
Child upon her 
lap plays with 
the scroll of the 
little St. John's 
cross, at which he 
looks with aston- 
ished eyes. St. 
Elizabeth, a figure 
of the usual Man- 
tegnesque type, 
watches the group , , ^ ,, „ ... 

fc> r In ihc Estense G.illery, Modeiia. 


This closes the list of pictures hitherto discovered, which in all 
probability preceded the Madonna of San Francesco. 

1 Munitorc Toscciuo of December 24, 1852. La Ghirlandiiia di Modena, No. i. 
Modena, 1853. Meyer, p. 379, etc. The picture has suffered somewhat. Among 
other blemishes, note the repainting of the Virgin's hand. 

2 Morelh, Italian Painters, ii. p. 151. I'ritz Harck, Qiiadri italiani ndU galleric 
private di Germania. {Arc/iiv. storico dell' arte, vi. p. 390. Rome, 1893.) There is 
also a picture at Strasburg said to be a ju\enile work by Correggio. 

I di San Paolo i 






IN the life of every man there 
is a transition period, a 
terrible interliulc of depres- 
sion and unrest from which there 
is no escape. He eaters upon 
it when he ceases to be a boy, 
but is as yet hardly a man. An 
ill-defined craving for happiness 
keeps him in a state of perpetual 
tension. The blood seems to 
rush, hot and tumultuous, through 
his veins. In strange contrast 
to the still childish cast of his 
thoughts in general, visions of 

PICTURES PAINTEI) IN 1515 — 1518 113 

art and poetry dawn within his soul. He begins to love the solitude 
of the country and of the sea ; in the floating clouds above him he 
discerns figures of monstrous beasts, or rivers and snow-clad moun- 
tains. The world spreads out her beauties and pleasures before him ; 
but he is sad, tormented by an inexplicable melancholy, an unreason- 
able resentment. Now this strange phase of transition in the physical 
and moral being frequently has its spiritual counterpart in the aesthetic 
development of a great artist. It corresponds to that painful period 
when, from imitation, he passes to individual mastery. 

The workings of this transition betray themselves in Correggio's 
ceuvre between 15 15 and 151S, that is to say, between the painting of 
the Madonna of San Franccsio and the frescoes in the Camera di 
San Paolo, the period in which he produced the least memorable of 
his works. He was gradually discarding the strong and vigorous 
colour, the traditional simplicity of arrangement, the sobriety of 
drapery, all the characteristics, in short, of the masters he had admired 
and studied, for more personal methods of expression. But these 
were not to be won in a moment. Striving after mellower, more 
transparent, and warmer colour, he only achieved the red tones of 
Dosso ; attempting to touch the calm tranquillity of figures and 
draperies with greater life and animation, he was not always equal to 
the difficulties he evoked, and is often confused and embarrassed ; and 
desiring to substitute a genial humanity for the contemplative mysticism 
of the older masters, he sometimes failed to add vivacity of expression 
to poetry of conception. Careful on the one hand, to avoid mere 
panegyric, we need not fear to say that Correggio's art was at its nadir 
at this period. Had he never painted better, either before or after, we 
should have known him only as one of the band of Emilian artists who 
flourished early in the sixteenth century. 

We may illustrate our opinion by a striking case in point. The 
poor quality of the Repose in Egypt in the Ufhzi, notably in colour, 
long caused it to be considered a copy, which was variously assigned 
to Barocci, to Francesco Vanni, and even, strange to say, to Ales- 
sandro Tiarini ! ' The picture is perfectly authentic, and /^ra' Meyer, 
^ Lanzi, op. et loc. cit. Meyer, p. 99. 



its history is straightforward enough. Our conviction as to its 
authenticity is strengthened not only by a daily familiarity of many 
years with Correggio's greater works, hut by the concurrence of several 
eminent critics, Morelli and Frizzoni among the number. The treat- 
ment of the hair and hands, the pale violet tint of St. Joseph's robe, 
the manner in which the colour is carried, as it were, into the folds of 
his white girdle, the vagueness of some of the contours (a quality 
beyond the power of a copyist to reproduce), the spontaneity of ex- 
pression, which, again, no copy can render, modified, as it necessarily 
must be, by the personality of the reproducer — all combine to convince 
us that this picture is by the hand of Correggio. If any lingering 
doubts remained in our mind, they were dispelled by a careful study of 
the technique of La Ziiigarclla, a work Meyer erroneously supposes 
to have been painted about 1520. 

It is curious to note how the traits peculiar to this stage of the 
painter's development appear in each one of the works painted at the 
time. Not only do we find the same hot tone of colour, the same 
haziness in the landscape, the same treatment of foliage, the same 
somewhat puffy extremities, but in every case we recognise the same 
facial type and the same idea of drapery. 

The oval-faced Virgin, with a large mouth and rather long nose, 
and the Infant with the tripartite arrangement of the hair, a long- 
central lock overhanging the middle of the forehead, are to be found in 
the Repose in Egypt of the Ufhzi, in the Madonna z^'itli the /wo Children, 
at Madrid, in the J'irgin and Child loith St. Joseph and St. James, 
at Hampton Court ; they also, as we learn from surviving copies, 
appeared in the lost Albinea picture. The inclination of the Virgin's 
head is another characteristic shared by the three latter. Indeed, the 
Virgin and Child of the Prado may be described as identical with the 
same group in the Hampton Court picture, where the St. Joseph of the 
Repose in Egypt re-appears as St. James. The hang of the draperies 
is still very sculpturesque, and, though less severe than in the pictures 
which precede the San Francesco Madonna, it is as yet unbroken by 
that i)lay of flowing mantles and fluttering veils which distinguishes 
the Diana of the Camera di San Paolo, and succeeding works. The 

Uffizi Gallery, KI. 


robes aru little more than ample shirts, which the painter allows to lall 
in vertical folds over the breasts and arms of his figures, a mannerism 
he afterwards entirely repudiated, recognising the value of greater 
freedom and animation. The Ziii_s;arclla, the St. Lucy of the 
Albinea picture, and the Madonna of the Repose in Egypt have 
another distinguishing- peculiarity in the curious fold of the sleeve, the 
upper part of which is doubled over the fore-arm, wrapping it round 
like a bandage. 

These singularities of colour, type, attitude, and drapery mark a 
stage in the painter's development hitherto neglected by the critic. 
We have described it as a painful interlude, for such, we are well 
assured, it was to the painter himself He was struggling desperately 
to express his own personality, despairing at times of reaching the 
longed-for goal, determined never to return to the trammels of earlier 
formulce, yet oppressed by his inability to give life to the ideas that 
were stirring within him, eager for flight and liberty as a flock of 
caged doves. 

In the Repose in Egypt, an episode taken from one of the apocry- 
phal gospels, we have the germ of the future Madonna delta Scodella 
(the Virgin with the Cup). This identity of motive will be of great 
help to my readers in comparing the reproductions of these two 
examples. Such a comparison will show the difference between 
Correggio, as yet hesitating and embarrassed, and Correggio in full 
possession of his powers, more forcibly than any words of mine 
could do. 

The Virgin is seated on a knoll, near a palm-tree, one branch of 
which St. Joseph has drawn down to pluck a handful of dates, which 
he offers to the Infant Jesus. The Child, standing on his mother's 
knee, stretches out his hand to take them, looking another way, as 
if but slightly interested in the matter. St. Francis of Assisi kneels 
on the opposite side ; the ecstatic rapture of his face and attitude 
in the famous altar-piece at Dresden seems entirely quenched, and 
the other figures have none of the joyous, radiant air that is to 
distinguish them in the Madonna delta Seodella. The saint's 
hands are somewhat hard and angular, and the Virgin's left arm 


is ugly. The picture is not without beauty, notably in the composition, 
which is broadly conceived, and instinct with a sweet familiarity of 
sentiment, but, as a whole, it leaves the spectator cold. 

This work was also originally in the church of San Francesco at 
Correggio, in the chapel of the Munari family. It was removed 
by Boulanger, at the Duke of Modena's command, the monks agreeing 
to the transfer, and a copy was substituted, which is now in the church 
of San Sebastiano in the same city. Pungileoni has described how it 
afterwards went to Florence, and Venturi confirms him. In 1649 
Geminiano Poggi took it thither and exchanged it for an Abraliaui s 
Sacrifice by Andrea del Sarto, now at Dresden. ^ 

The picture in the Naples Museum known as La Ziiigarclla 
(The Gipsy), or the Madonna i<.<itJi the Rabbit, is well composed, and 
most poetically conceived, but in execution it is inferior to most of 
the master's works. Allowances must be made, however, for a certain 
amount of deterioration. The panel is covered with cracks, many of 
which have been stopped ; the colour has suffered, and the work has 
been retouched here and there. 

The Virgin is seated on the ground in a forest glade, among 
low-growing shrubs and bushes. Her hair is bound turban-wise 
with a white handkerchief Over her white dress she wears a bright 
blue mantle. The Child lies on her lap, supported by her left hand, on 
which he la\-s his little fingers caressingly. With her right hand she 
holds one of his feet, as in the Sigmaringen picture. The Babe is 
sleeping, and the mother, bending tenderly over him, seems weary. 
As in the Repose in Egypt, the two figures are somewhat crudely 
illuminated by a warm twilight glow. The forest round them is full 
of life ; a rabbit peers at them curiously from the left, and among 
the palms above their heads hovers a band of angels, which some 
strange fancy of the artist's has caused him to paint in the greenish 
tones of antique bronzes, a peculiarity copied by some of his disciples, 

' Pungileoni, i. pp. 46, 47, 71, 72, 73; ii. i). 74. Ad. Venturi, Gallcria es/eiise, 
p. 242 et seq. There was a good copy of the picture at the exhibition of Correggio's 
works held at Parma in 1S94. See Ca/a/ogo delta iiiostra Con-eggcsca in Panna, No. 82 
p. 6. Parma, 1894. 


notably Francesco Maria Rondani. A small birci, perched on a twig 
over the Virgin's shoulder, seems to have been roused by the flutter 
of the angels, and looks alertly round. 

An Inventory of the U'ardrobc of Ranuccio Fariicse, drawn up in 
1587, shows that the Zingixrclla was the property of that prince. 

In the Naples Museum. 

By his will, dated July 23, 1607, he left it to his sister Margherita. 
known as Sister Maura Lucenia, a nun of the convent of San Paolo 
of Parma, to which her husband, Vincenzo Gonzaga, Duke of Modena, 
consigned her in 1583, because of her sterility. " To the most serene 
lady, my sister, I bequeathe, as a token of the love I have always 


borne, and still bear her, the small panel, commonly called a qiiadrctto 
(little picture), of the Blessed Virgin Mary, painted by the famous 
painter, Antonio of Correggio, and known as La Cingarina, the which, 
with all my remaining movable goods, is now under the charge of the 
Cavaliere Flaminio Zunti."^ 

On the death of Sister Maura, the picture did not remain in the 
convent, but went back to the Farnese family. It was still in their 
possession a century later, and was removed to Naples with the rest 
of their collection in 1734, when King Charles I. de Bourbon took 
possession of the two Sicilies, and made the city his capital.- 

We have classed the picture in the Prado at Madrid with that 
at Hampton Court, on the strength of the close affinity between 

The first represents the Virgin seated on the ground at the mouth 
of a cave, and watching the meeting between her son and the little 
St John with evident pleasure. The Inf^int Jesus, seated on her 
left knee, holds out his arms to the other child, who advances with 
his arms crossed, walking on the hem of the Virgin's robe, and 
encouraged by her supporting hand. The execution of this picture 
is somewhat harsh, and the colour a little hot ; the left arm of the 
Infant Jesus and the Virgin's right hand and arm are poorly modelled. 
The pose of her legs is not over-graceful, and her feet are undeniably 
clumsy. But though the mastery of form is as yet incomplete, there 
is infinite charm and poetry in the familiar little scene. 

The companion picture at Hampton Court, which was in Charles I.'s 
collection, is more delicate and refined in treatment, and shows the 

^ Martini, StuJi iiitonw al Correggio, p. 128. C. Ricci, Di alcuni qiiadri di sciiola 
parmigiana cotiservaii 7iel R. Museo Nazionak di Napoli, p. 4 et seq. Trani, 1894. 

2 Giuseppe Campori, Raccolta di catalogJii ed inventari di guadri. pp. 52 and 225. 
Modena, 1870. There are innumerable copies of this picture, which was the subject of 
a sonnet by the famous Cavaliere Marino. We might fill three or four pages with a list 
of these various repetitions. One in the Casa Boscoli was attributed to Parmigianino, 
and is said to have been copied most minutely, with the idea of counterfeiting Correggio's 
work. There is a very pleasing replica by Girolamo Mazzola-Bedoli in the Poldi-Pezzoli 
collection at Milan. Earocci imitated the picture in his Hagar, now in the Dresden 
Gallery. For many others, see Pungileoni, Zani {Encichpcdia artistiai, jiart ii. v. vi. 
p. 20), Meyer, etc. 


influence of Dosso. The Infant Jesus differs little either in type or 
pose from the Child in the Madrid picture. There is more grace, 
however, in the mother's attitude. She supports him with her left 
hand under his arm, and holds one of his little feet in her right. 
Her face, which is turned towards St. James, is quietly contemplative. 
St. Joseph, a handsome old man, leans forward to the right, apparently 
in deep thought.^ 

Another picture which belongs to this group as to period is the 
small Madonna luitk the tico Children, dated 151;, discovered by Dr. 
Henry Thode at Milan, and now in the public gallery at Frankfort- 
on-the-Main. It represents the Virgin, seated, with the Child, who is 
trying to attract the attention of the little St. John. The latter looks 
out at the spectator, pointing to the Infant Jesus. Thode believes 
this to be the picture known as the Casabnaggiorc Illadonna, which was 
in the ducal gallery at Modena, having been carried off from Casal- 
maggiore when Francesco I. occupied the district in 1646. It is said 
to have passed from Modena into France towards the close of the 
eighteenth century, and thence into England, returning once more to 
Italy in the possession of an English lady, and finally finding a home 
again among strangers. ^ 

The larger and more important works executed by our painter at 
this period have, unhappily, all disappeared. No one, we believe, 
will now be found to uphold the authenticity of the so-called Poii>-aii 
of a Physician in the Dresden Gallery, which was at one time supposed 
to represent the distinguished Correggese Lombardi, of whom we 
have already spoken, at another, the Modenese doctor, Grillenzoni.^ 
Meyer declared he could find no traces of Correggio in this portrait. 

' Mary Logan, Guide to tlie Italian Pictin-es at Hampton Court, p. 41. London, 1S94. 

- H. Thode, Correggid s Madonna von Casalniaggiore {F>-anl;furtcr Zeitung, No. 151, 
1890, and Jahrbuch der konigl. preuss. Kiinstsanimlungen, xii. p. 104 ct seq., 1891). 
Venturi, Galleria estense, pp. 245 and 312. 

' ScannelH, p. 285 ; Ratti, p. 109 ; Mengs, ii. p. 162 ; Tiraboschi, vi. p. 277 ; Venturi, 
Galleria estense, pp. 136 and 226; Pungileoni {op. cit. i, p. 36; ii. pp. 51 and 199) 
supports the attribution by relating that Lombardi gave Correggio a codex in acknow- 
ledgment of the portrait, and seems to accept a tradition which assigned it to the 
year 151S. 


He pronounced it a mediocre work, wanting in animation, poor in 
modelling, and heavy in colour. Morelli was pleased to suggest 
Dosso as its author^ and Liibke gave it to Lorenzo Lotto.'- As, in 
any case, it has no pretensions to be Included in Correggio's a-iivre, we 
need not linger over its history. 

In addition to the Madonna of San Francesco, at Dresden, the 

Repose in Egypt, 
at Florence, and 
the St. Martha 
in London, the 
city of Correggio 
once owned oth- 
er early works by 
Allegri, among 
them a Herodias, 
a triptych, and, 
if we accept the 
testimony of wit- 
nesses already 
quoted, certain 
frescoes in the 
palace and villa 
of the Signori. 
All such me- 
morials of her 
great master 
have, however, 
disappeared from 

the city. Like Urbino, she retains nothing of her famous son but 
his name 

No trace whatever remains of the Herodias receiving tlie Head of 
John the Baptist from the Executioner. In 17S3 Antonioli wrote as 
follows to Girolamo Tiraboschi : " It must certainly have been 
ordered by the Countess Veronica after her return from Brescia, and 

' Italian J\ilii/as, li. p. 158. - Einii sur nni.loirc etc fart, ii. p. 256. 

In the Prado, Madri 


after the terrible catastrophe of the capture of that city by the. French 
under the haughty Gaston de I'\)ix." ' The potential form of this 
statement, which lacks the confirmation of other documents, makes it 
of little value as evidence. 

It has been asserted 1)\' some- writers that this picture was 
originally in the 
oratory of the 
Misericordia. In 
a manuscript let- 
ter quoted by 
Tiraboschi and 
P u n g i 1 e o n i , 
signed with the 
p s e u d o n )' m 
Pictro Rails, of 
Bcriic, these 
words occur: 
" There were 
also two other 
pictures in the 
said hospital by 
the same painter, 
which, although 
early works, 
were so greatly 
prized that cer- 
tain ignorant 
ofificials, fearing 

they might be carried off, caused them to be covered with a thick 
varnish, which destroyed all their beauty." One of these two 
pictures, was, as we know, Lord Ashburton's Sf. Martha ; the other 
is supposed to have been the Hcrodias. But Brunorio's testimony 
seems to us an insuperable obstacle to this belief. Without rc- 

nkfoi-t on-the-Ma 

Bigi, Delia vita c dclle opa-c, etc., p. 


terring at all to the hospital, he expressly states that the picture 
belonged originally to the Lords of Correggio, but that in his time 
it was said to have passed into the hands of the Venetian noble, 
Grimani.i Now the Hcrodias was, as a fact, in Venice in 1666. It 
figures in an inventory drawn up in that year, of pictures included in 
Nicolo Renier's lottery, from which it no doubt passed to the Grimani.'- 

Among the pictures in this inventory we find another attributed to 
Correggio : " A nude figure of the Saviour seated upon a rainbow, and 
surrounded by a glory of angels." 

This entry raises the question of another lost work of Correggio's. 

On the high altar of the oratory of Santa Maria della Miserlcordia 
there was once a triptych, the central panel of which represented Christ 
the Redeemer, the left wing St. John the Baptist, and the right wing 
St. Bartholomew. On this triptych Siro of Austria, the last prince 
of Correggio, cast longing eyes in 16 12, and he eventually struck a 
bargain for it with the prior and syndic of the fraternity. In 
December of the same year it was valued by Giacomo Borboni, an 
artist of Novellara : " Having diligently examined and considered 
them to the satisfaction of my conscience, I value the said three 

figures at one hundred great ducats of eight lire each a copy 

of the said three figures to be given into the bargain." 

The compact was sealed. The Correggese protested, and opposed 
the sale, but Siro or the Brotherhood managed to gain the sanction of 
the Bishop of Reggio, " by ordinance from Rome," and to complete 
the necessary preliminaries in the autumn of 16 13.' Borboni also 
made a copy, which was duly substituted for the original. 

Tiraboschi supposed that Don Siro's collection was taken to 
Mantua, and that his pictures perished during the sack of the city 
in 1630. But this was not the case. Robbed of his dominion, which 

' Pungileoni, i. p. 58; ii. p. 96, and iii. p. 274. Martini, S/i/di intonio a/ Correggio, 
p. 72. Meyer, p. 402. 

- Ordini e regole stahilite dagli III. Sig. proveditori di comiin li 8 dicembre, 1 656, in 
materia d' 11 n lotto di quadri . . . di Nicolo Ranieri. 

•' Tiraboschi, vi. p. 255. Pungileoni, i. pp. 50-55 ; ii. p. 82 et seq. I/itorno a una 
pittiira del Correggio rappresentante San Giovanni esistente in Bologna {Memorie originali 
italiane risgiiardanti le belle arti, raccolte da M. A. Giialandi), series ii., p. 163 et seq. 
Bologna, 1841. Bigi, op. at. p. 45. Martini, Stiidi, p. 67. Meyer, pp. 100 and 375. 

i.os'i' TRii'ivcii i!V ('()RRK(;(;to 123 

was conferred on Francesco I. of Modena by imperial edict, the 
prince endeavoured to save as nuicli as possiljle of his personal 
property. He invoked the aid of the Lords of Novellara, begging 
them to receive his pictures by Correggio, and take charge of them 
for him. They were formally handed over in June, 1635. But when 
Don Siro, who came back to Mantua nine years later, claimed his 
own again, the Lords of Novellara turned a deaf ear to his demand. 
A second appeal was no more successful, and the unlucky Siro died 
at Mantua on October 25, 1645, without having recovered his 

From this point onward the history of the triptych becomes 
hopelessly involved. Every attempt to trace it is baffled by a mass 
of contradictory statements and bewildering inaccuracies. The un- 
certainty as to the subject of the central panel, which is variously 
stated to have represented God the Father and Christ the Redeemer, 
and the numerous copies of the S/. John, many of which passed as 
the original, and were entered as such in catalogues, have combined 
to weave a web of difficulties which it is no longer possible to dis- 
entangle, failing the originals which might have served as a clue. 

Of the St. Bartholoniciv nearly every trace has disappeared. The 
central panel was long supposed to be identical with a Christ seated 
upon the clouds, with extended arms, and surrounded by angels, 
known as the Unianita di Crista, or Christ, the Son of Man, which 
Count Marescalchi of Bologna, Napoleon L's minister, bought from 
one Giuseppe Armano, a picture-dealer. It appears to have been 
claimed by the pontifical government, and brought back from P'rance 
to the Vatican, where it has remained since 1832. It is, however, a 
late work of the Bolognese school, coarse in execution, heavy and hot 
in the shadows, with little gradation of tones throughout. Morelli 
and Meyer correctly assign it to the school of the CarraccI, and 
Miindler suggests Annibale rather than Lodovico as its author, on the 
grounds that Annibale's colour was brighter and more delicate, and 
that he is known to have copied many of Correggio's works. It may 
indeed be a copy of the central figure in Don Siro's triptych, by 
Annibale Carracci. 


Count Marescalchi told Pungileoiii in a letter written in 1815 
that Armano had bought it from the Gritti family in Venice, who 
stated that it was originally in the Renier collection. It seems evident, 
therefore, that this was the Nude Figure of the Saviour seated on a 
Raitiboiv of the lottery of 1666. 

The territory of Novellara remained in the possession of the 
Gonzaga family till the death of Count Filippo in 1728, when it was 

declared the property of the Emperor. Charles VI,, however, ceded 
it to Rinaldo, Duke of Modena, in compensation for a large sum of 
money he owed to the duke. The collection of pictures in the castle 
passed to Count Filippo's sister, Maria Ricciarda, wife of Alderano 
Cibo, Duke of Massa. She seems, however, to have cared little for 
the legacy, perhaps because her home was a long way from Novellara. 


The pictures were left in the castle, and the collection was rifled from 
time to time, notably in 1770, when it was removed on the sale of the 
castle to the commune by Francesco III. 

A few of the pictures still remained in Novcllara, however, at the 
time of the French invasion, and here, in the year 1797, one Panelli 
bought a figure of St. John the Baptist holding a cross, which eventually 
passed into the hands of Dr. Giuseppe Bianconi of Bologna.^ Meyer 
questions its identity with the St. John Baptist of the triptych for 
a variety of reasons, but mainly because it appeared among the 
Novellara pictures without the companion figures of the Saviour, and 
St. Bartholomew • because the catalogue of the Gonzaga collection in 
which it figures was compiled, he says, />c/o;r Don Siro of Austria 
made his deposit, and finally, because this catalogue records the price 
of the picture, showing that the Gonzaghi bought it, and had not 
received it in trust. Unfortunately, there is nothing conclusive in 
these arguments. The price entered in the catalogue is not the sum 
given for the picture, but the valuation, usual and necessary in every 
inventory of goods, however acquired. The catalogue, again, was not 
compiled before 1635, the date of Siro's deposit, but after the death of 
Filippo in 1728.- Lastly, we see no reason why the ^S7. /o/i/i of the 
triptych should not have been bereft of its companion figures. The 
triptych, as we gather from various documents, was always in three 
parts, held together by a frame, which Siro, no doubt, left in the 
church for Borboni's copy. 

But though Meyer's arguments do not convince us that Professor 
Bianconi's SL John Baptist was never part of the lost trii^tych, we 
have, on the other hand, no positive proof that it was. All that 
research has been able to establish with any certainty is, that a 
picture of the saint was once at Novellara, that there it was bought 
by a certain Panelli, and that it descended from him to Professor 

The disputed work may indeed be a copy from the original, for a 
great many were made besides the one e.xecuted by Borboni at 

' Intorno a una pittKra del Corret^gio, quoted above. 
■' Gius. Campori, Invciitari e ca/atog/i/, pp. 638-639. 


Siro's command. Our reproduction is from an engraving by Colom- 
bini, after a copy which was in the Marchese Alfonso Tacoli 
Canacci's collection in the eighteenth century. As usual, it claimed 
to be the original. ^ 

Be this as it may, it will at least give us some idea of the 
lost triptych. The exaggerated length of the figure here repro- 
duced seems to us almost a conclusive proof that it originally formed 
part of some such composition, for it is impossible to suppose that 
the painter would have chosen this high, narrow form for a picture, 
unless it had been one of a series, adapted to architectural exigencies."-^ 

In conclusion, we must regretfully acknowledge that it is impossible 
to evolve any very definite idea from this confusion of evidences. It 
seems but too probable that no portion of the original triptych has 

To the works we have now enumerated as painted by Correggio 
after his return from Mantua, and before his removal to Parma, 
historians add certain others, which he is supposed to have executed 
outside his native city, during brief sojourns at Carpi, at Noveliara, 
and at Albinea, a spot not far from Reggio. The Albinea picture 
is the only one of which we have any definite history, but, as we shall 
see, Allegri painted it in Correggio, and must have taken it to 
Albinea on its completion. Relying on existing records of a picture 
attributed to Correggio representing the Virgin and Child with Saints, 
in the church of San Nicolo at Carpi, Tiraboschi, after confusing this 
picture in a curious manner with the Franciscan altar-piece at Dresden, 
continues thus : " It seems certain that our Antonio made occasional 
sojourns at Carpi, for among the attesting witnesses to a deed executed 

' Catalogue raisoniic lAs tableaux de A. Tacoli Cauaai a Florence, \\. 65. Paniia, 1796. 

- Signer Enrico Cattini, of Correggio, owns another .SV. John the Baptist, identical in 
all respects with the above, which he bought in 1885 from Signor Napoleone Vernizzi. 
He is of opinion that it is the original, and is supported in this belief by several artists. 
See Alberto \ioxc\a.n\, Per un (juadro atfribuito al Correggio. Reggio-Emilia, 1890. We 
have examined the picture most carefully, but it is in such a wretched condition that we 
found it impossible to form an opinion. A St. John at Carzeto di Soragna has also been 
ascribed to Correggio, but connoisseurs recognise in it the hand of Parmigianino. 
Pungileoni, i. p. 53. 


at Carpi, January 19, 1512, \vc find Antonio Corrigio." ^ The argu- 
ment he advances is scarcely worth discussion. Who can say how 
many citizens of Correggio, bearing the very common name, Antonio, 
may have visited the neighbouring town of Carpi 
from time to time ? As the document makes no 
mention of the witness' surname, his father's 
name, nor his profession, it serves no practical 
purpose whatever. 

Again, there are no direct evidences ot Allegri's 
traditional sojourn in the castle of Novellara, where 
he is supposed to have worked between i 5 i 5 and 
15 iS. We have already touched on this point, 
which it will be well to examin*- a littk: more closely 

In Yincenzo Davolio's Monoric storiche di 
Novellara, a manuscript preserved in the Casa 
Fabrici, the following passage occurs : " Within the 
castle, the munition and the chambers of the great 
tower were altered and improved, and afterwards 
adorned with paintings by Master Antonio, Master 
Latino, and two young men, all of Correggio ; this 
we learn from the account books, and, among 
others, from the toll-book of the inn at Novellara, 
where under section AA, No. 3, in an entry 
referring to the estate of Giovanni Antonio dei 
Savi di Bagnolo, host of the market-inn at Novellara, for which he paid 
an annual rent of twenty gold ducats, the following appears on page 
171 : Item due according to a list of 15 14, rohich zvas not approved, 
scudi 2 . 12.0 for lodging' blasters Antonio and Latino, the 
painters, and their folloivers." This is repeated several times after- 
wards. These two painters were employed by Caterina Torelli, the 
widow of Gian Pietro Gonzaga. Among the rooms they painted was 
a cabinet for Costanza da Correggio, the bride of Alessandro 


Op. at.. 


Gonzaga.^ Now the very phraseology of these old documents them- 
selves first caused us to question the assumption that Correggio was one 
of the painters mentioned. They speak of Master Antonio, Master 
Latino, and ti^'o young men. Such a description could hardly have 
been applied to the latter as distinguishing them from Correggio in 
1 5 14, when he himself was only twenty. The inference clearly is that 
" Master Antonio " was a man of mature age, and what more probable 
than that the painter in question was Antonio Bartolotti of Correggio, 
who was then accounted one of the best artists of the neighbourhood, 
and who had a studio and numerous pupils and assistants ? 

The various payments made in the course of the next four years, 
and recorded in the documents examined by Davolio, show that a 
large portion of the castle was restored and decorated, and that the 
work was a long and laborious one. But it was just at this time that 
Correggio was engaged on several important works in his own city, 
such as the Madonna of San Francesco, the Repose in Egypt, the 
triptych of the Redeemer, and the Madonna of Albinea. 

But, it will be objected, how are we to set aside the direct evidence 
of the Ganymede painted by Correggio in a little room of the ground 
lloor — the boudoir, in fact, prepared for Donna Costanza ? 

Davolio describes the decoration of this cabinet as follows : "It 
represented a bower or arbour, divided into three sections on each 
wall by a like number of terms or caryatids ; the faces of some of 
these are still perfectly fresh and mellow ; each was the portrait of a 
youthful person of the day. Around and between these on every side 
spreads a marvellous trellis of vines, tree-trunks, branches, leaves, and 
fruit of every sort, fresh, glowing, and life-like, rendered with infinite 
variety of perspective. In the middle of the vault, the trellis seems to 
open, showing the sky above, and Jupiter, in mantle, crown, and sceptre, 
seated upon the eagle, who spreads his wings for flight, bearing with 
him Ganymede. The youth clings to the eagle's neck with one arm ; 
the rest of his body is entwined between the legs and wings of the 
bird. In the highest part of the sky appears a goddess in a little car 

' Bigi, op. fit. \>. 9. Celcstino IMalagoli, Memorie itoriche su Lelio Orsi, ]). 10. 
Guastalla, 1892. 


drawn by white doves. The whole is foreshortened in Correggio's 
well-known manner ; the colours are so vivid and natural that the work 
might have been completed only a few years ago. Some genii, also 
much foreshortened, are ranged round the edge of the opening, and 
hang over the head of the si)ectator, who is tempted to catch them by 
the legs, so boldly do they stand out from the vault." 

It is upon this central medallion, accordingly, that the burden of 

proof devolves. Here we have the "artistic document" which should 
convince us that the " Antonio " who painted Costanza's bower between 
1515 and 1518 was not Bartolotti, but Allegri. Fortunately, this 
fragment of the fresco has survived. It was transferred to canvas in 
1845 by a certain Giovanni Rizzoli della Pieve di Cento, at Duke 
Francesco IV.'s command, and is preserved in the gallery at Modena.' 
1 Malagoli, op. cit., p. 10. Ad. Venturi, Galkria estoise, p. 438. 


To say that it is in Correggio's manner seems to us a sufficiently 
grave critical error ; but to class it among the master's juvenile works 
argues an absolute incapacity for critical appreciation of any sort. 
Meyer, followed by other writers, saw that it was impossible to make the 
evidences of the work itself and of the documents relating to it agree. 
He accordingly assigned it to the year 1530 approximately, believing he 
recognised in it Correggio's later manner, and a certain affinity with 
the frescoes in the cupola of Parma Cathedral.^ 

It is unquestionably by a painter who had studied Correggio, but of 
one who had also studied Giulio Romano, more especially in the works 
executed by the latter at the Palazzo del Te at Mantua, between 1532 
and 1534. In these we note an idiosyncrasy which is exactly repro- 
duced in the Jove and the two goddesses of the Modena roundel. This 
is a proclivity for effects of foreshortening in figures turned full to the 
spectator, or sinking, in profile, the head turned over the shoulder. 
Of such effects (the most facile of all) Giulio made an excessive use, 
whereas Correggio avoided them as much as possible. The figure of 
Ganymede, again, is awkward and contorted, reminding us of nothing 
so much as of the triple legs in the arms of .Sicily ! This contortion of 
a figure in profile is simply the device of an artist who was unable to 
master the difficulties of a real foreshortening. Note, too, the manner 
in which the head is attached to the torso, and the peculiar character 
of the hands, not a single one of which throughout the fresco is 
modelled as are Correggio's hands in his last and greatest frescoes. 
Compare the masterly treatment of hair in Correggio's authentic works 
with the shock head of the Ganymede, and the general tone of colour 
with Allegri's transparent, pearly tints. 

We are only concerned here to show that the fresco is not by 
Correggio. But were we called upon to substitute the name of some 
other artist in place of his, we should confidently suggest that of Lelio 
Orsi of Novellara, who was born in 151 1, and died in 1587. Other 
works of his have been from time to time ascribed to Correggio, 
among them the mural frescoes removed from the summer villa of the 

' Meyer, pp. 242 and 355. Martini, p. 301. Venturi, op. et loc. cit. 


Gonzaghi in this same district, and now in the possession of a lady 
named Gerard, at Wiesbaden.^ 

Not only is Lelio known to have worked industriously in his native 
district for the Gonzaghi, and to have imitated Correggio : between his 
best authenticated works and this Ganymede there are undeniable 
affinities, both in sentiment and technique. 

We may therefore conclude that among all the wanderings imputed 
to Correggio by his biographers, the only journey duly attested is that 
to Albinea. 

Let us endeavour to trace the history of the picture he painted for 
the church of this little settlement, with the help of certain memoirs, 
and some original documents belonging to the parish. 

Albinea - lies some few kilometres from Reggio, on the slope of 
one of the hills which follow the main ridge of the Apennines to the 
right of the wide valley of the Po. A house of some size, and a little 
church, which has been rebuilt several times, but which existed in the 
eleventh century, rise tranquilly in its midst. 

The chroniclers tell us that Correggio came here between i 5 1 7 and 
1 5 18 to paint a picture for the parishioners ; they also repeat a legend 
noted in one of the papers referred to, that the parish paid the artist 
thirty so/di a day as salary, that the church provided canvas and 
colours, and that the arch-priest, Giovanni Guidotto di Roncopu, gave 
the painter food and lodging. A letter recently discovered in the 
Reggian archives ^ fixes the date at which the picture was begun, but 
further shows that Correggio painted it in his native city. This letter, 
dated May 12, 151 7, is from the arch-priest to one Alessandro 
Malaguzzi of Reggio, begging him to write to Correggio, and per- 
suade him to execute the work in the manner already suggested by 
Malaguzzi, to ensure its durability, always providing the picture were 
not already so far advanced as to make alterations impossible. He 
makes a further vague allusion to some picture of the INIagdalcn, of 

1 Henry Thode, Lelio Orsi e gli ajfrescln del " Casino di Sopm " presso Novellara 
{Aniiiv. storico delle arte, iii. p. 366 et seq. Rome, 1891). Readers will find many points 
of resemblance between the Ganymede medallion and the frescoes reproduced in Thode's 
study. 2 .Ylso called Bineia and Benelia. 

' Archivio storico dell' arte, p. 90. Rome, 1888. 


whicli we can find no other trace. On October 14, 15 19, the priest 
was in Correggio, when he made a final payment of four ducats to 
the painter, and obtained from him a receipt in full for all charges 
connected with the altar-piece.^ 

The picture remained in the church until 1647, '■'' which year it 
was taken away "with violence" by the public representatives of the 
commune of Albinea, and consigned to Duke Francesco I., who had 
" shown an inclination for it." 

The sequel was as follows. The representatives had first signified 
the Duke's wishes to the priest (one Claudio Ghidini), giving him to 
understand that they would pay the price of the picture to the church. 
The priest resisted sturdily, standing on the rights of the commune 
over the work. Finally, he gave vent to his wrath in round terms, 
freely e.xpressing his opinion of the Duke's spoliations. His words 
were repeated by certain " malicious and godless persons " to Francesco, 
who lodged a complaint with the Bishop of Reggio, a member of the 
Coccapani family. The supple and obsequious prelate cited the poor 
priest to appear before him at Reggio, where he kept him in durance 
for seven long months. The picture was meanwhile carried oft" aniiata 
maiiii to Modena, and a copy, supplied by the serviceable Jean 
Boulanger, was placed over the altar in its stead. 

The Duke, however, with somewhat questionable generosity, 
insisted that the church should receive compensation for the loss ; and 
ordered that a sum of 7,494 Modenese /ire he claimed from the 
commune of Albinea should be devoted to this purpose. It is clear 
that he waived his own rights to this levy, knowing very well that the 
commune would never have discharged the debt, and equally clear that 
the commune, for its part, was most anxious to give him the picture, 
and free itself by this convenient means from any further pressure on 
the subject of payments, hoping, perhaps, that when the bargain was 
once concluded there would be no further trouble on either side. 

Hie affair, however, was not so easily disposed of, and, far from 
resolving itself thus amicably, the quarrel was prolonged for over a 

' Pungileoni, ii. p. log et seq. 


In reply to the continued importunities of tlie priest, the commune 
declared itself unable to discharge the debt in full, and at last agreed to 
pay an interest of five per cent, on the sum claimed. Even this com- 
promise it was very slow to carry out, and no payments were in 
fact made until 1671. 

In this year the church was rclniilt, and the new priest (a certain 
Muzzi) succeeded in making good his claim, and forced the commune 
to bear part of 
the expense of 
the work. 

Various docu- 
ments show that 
he then proceeded 
to insist on dis- 
gorgement of the 
capital, intending 
to invest the 
money, and thus 
provide an income 
for the church, chlrch of albinea 

which was en- 
tirely without possessions. The commune, protesting and declaring its 
inability to hand over the lump sum, nevertheless averted law-suits 
and excommunications, first by finding the money for a silver pyx 
and monstrance, then by providing a thousand Modenese lire for 
the purchase of a Madonna of the Rosary, and a throne upon 
which to carry her in processions ; finally, in 16S7, worn out by the 
threats and assaults of the stubborn priest, it made up its mind to 
the heroic measure of levying a tax upon all its agricultural posses- 
sions. A sum of 6,460 Modenese lire was thus painfully amassed. 
In 1 69 1, however, a band of German soldiers was billetetl upon 
the district, and to meet this expense, the commune had recourse to 
their little hoard, after the dissipation of which they made no further 
attempt to pay either principal or interest. 

Again there were wrathful denunciations from the priest, and 


suddenly the commune was formally excommunicated ! In vain they 
petitioned the Pope for moral and material absolution in 1 706. The 
answer from Rome was that "the Bishop of Reggio would only grant 
absolution when the debt had been discharged in full " ! 

This, of course, had greatly increased, each successive priest having 
added the unpaid interest to the principal. Repugnant as it was to 
the representatives to continue living under the ban, they could find 
no means of salvation. In 1732 they at last bethought themselves of 
a certain claim the community had against the Modenese tribunal for 
lodging furnished, and payments made on its behalf A part of this 
claim they decided to make over to the church, on condition that 
full absolnlioii should he assured them. They thus made a practical 
retort to the trick Francesco I. had played them after carrying off the 
picture. The arch-priest accepted the terms " with the approval of his 
superiors," and Rinaldo d'Este gave orders for the necessary payments. 
The church, however, was fated to lose on this occasion ! The whole 
negotiation was broken off by a sudden call to arms, and the wars in 
which Modena was shortly afterwards involved. Once more the arch- 
priest returned to the charge, demanding from the commune, which 
still groaned under the Papal ban, a greatly increased sum " forasmuch 
as they had misapplied church funds." 

How was this interminable wrangle at last settled ? 

Among the papers we have examined we find a petition to the 
executive of the Modenese tribunal, in which the arch-priest "appeals 
with all humility to their Christian piety, begging them to give orders 
that the claims of the church be satisfied without further delay, he, 
their suppliant, desiring to repair it, and pay various unavoidable 
debts that had been incurred in its maintenance, the said church being 
destitute of all property and revenue save such as is derived from 

When this appeal also proved fruitless, humility was changed to 
anger. In a document of 1741, the sum, which has now risen to 15.S27 
Modenese lire, is demanded in such terms as these : " no laws, human 
nor divine, 'can annul the rights of the poor church, betrayed and 
assassinated by her own children." The community (this is the final 


cry !) " will never receive absolution at the tribunal of God ! " But the 
great absolver and liberator in this case was the French Revolution ! 

In some of the papers from which we have quoted, Correggio's 
picture is described as The Birth of the Virgin. This has induced 
some writers to reject the general testimony as to the subject of the 
work, which declares it to have been a I'irgiii and Child beticccn St. 
Litcy and the Jl/agdaien. Meyer, among others, says the picture was 
known ever since 1647 as a Birth of the Virgin, and that not even 
a copy has survived.^ 

It must now be pointed out that the documents which give this 
designation to the work also follow the story of the quarrel between the 
arch-priest, the Duke, and the community down to the year 1647, ^i"tl 
that they themselves are of considerably later date. The picture was, 
in fact, a Madonna and Child between St. Lucy and the Magdalen. 
The error of the later description arose, no doubt, from the fact that 
the church was dedicated to the Birth of the Virgin. The name of 
the temple was confused with the subject of the painting. 

We think it will be possible to establish this by recent and valuable 
discoveries. During the war which Ottavio Farnese made upon the 
Duke of Ferrara in 1557 at the instigation of Philip II. of Spain, he 
besieged and took many of the Reggian fortresses. Canossa fell on 
October 11, Borzano on November 15, Scandiano and Dinazzano on 
the following day. On December 4 he went to the Ouattro Castella, 
whence he threatened Albinea, which he took on December 30, after 
an obstinate battle, in which over a thousand combatants were left on 
the field. Every victory was in those days followed up by fire and 
pillage, and the men of Albinea, knowing they could not hold out much 
longer, had made a determined effort to save their most precious posses- 
sions. Three days before Farnese's entry, they conveyed their picture 
to Reggio, to be preserved till safer times. "On the twenty-seventh day," 
says a contemporary chronicle, " the Chapter of San Prospero and the 
Beatines of San Rocco went to meet the deputation from Albinea, who 

1 Meyer, pp. 87 and 109. See also Pungileoni, i. pp. 70, 71, and 94 ; ii. pp. 108-1 13. 
Nuovo diario sacro istoriografo reggiaiw, p. 106. Reggio, 1825. Paolo Ottavi, Due 
quadri del Correggio (Atti e memoiie dcile R. R. Deputazioni di storia patria modenesi e 
parmens!, i. p. 112. Modena, 1863). Martini, pp. 62, 7o,and Bigi, p. 51, etc. 



brought their Jlladonna to San Rocco." ^ Now this description of the 
picture evidently implies that the Virgin was the dominant figure of 
the composition, and we cannot suppose her to have played the sub- 
ordinate part she necessarily does in pictures representing the episode 
of her birth. 

Subsequent events prove that the Madonna returned in 

safety to her 

altar. We know 
that Francesco I. 
found her there, 
and that he re- 
moved her, sub- 
stituting Boulan- 
ger'scopy. Now 
this copy was 
fixed into the 
florid baroque 
stucco ornament 
with which the 
church was de- 
corated at its 
restoration, and 
has remained 
there ever since, 
In the Brcra, Milan. as various docu- 

ments bear wit- 
ness. It still e.xists, though in a ruinous condition. 

The Virgin sits under a clump of trees, supporting the Child 
in her arms. To the right stands St. Lucy, her eyes on a plate in one 
hand, in the other the palm of martyrdom. On the opposite side is 
St. Mary Magdalen, the box of ointment in her right hand, her left 
hand upon her breast. The background represents a hill, beyond 
which lies a wide plain. 

1 I. Malaguzzi, Aktme cose tratte dai diari reggiani di Alfonso Visdomtni (Reggio, 1881. 
Per nozze Fornaciari, Vakntini). We owe this information to Professor N. Campanini. 


The picture is unmistakably a copy after Correggio. Even Meyer 
was obliged to admit this, though he beheved the original altar-piece 
to have represented the birth of the Virgin. The facial types, the 
folds of the draperies, the character of the composition, the attitudes, 
the landscape, all point to a work executed by Correggio at the same 
period in which he painted the Repose in Es^ypt in the Uffizi, and 
the Ziiigarclla of 
the Naples Museum. 
Two other copies of 
the work are still 
extant : one in the 
Campidoglio Gal- 
lery at Rome, the 
other in the Brera 
at Milan. ^ In the 
latter, the original 
signature on a stone 
at St. Lucy's feet is 
reproduced: Anton- 


EBAT. That Cor- 
reggio habitually 
latinised his name 
in this fashion we 
know from docu- 
ments to which we Co , • nfler Corrc-"io In the Pai ma Caller • 

shall refer later on. 

The reproduction of this signature caused certain writers to uphokl 
the copy as the original. Otto Miindler among others expressed this 
opinion, though it ran directly counter to the reasonable and unanimous 
conclusions of Morclli, Frizzoni, and Meyer." 

' .\d. Venturi, La Gallcria del Cn/N/iidog/iii, p. 39. Rome, 1890. G. B. Ventui 
mentions another copy in his own possession, of whicli he gives a reproduction. See hi 
Storia di Scandiaiw, pp. 129-130. Modena, 1882. 

2 Correggio, p. 87. 


The original has disappeared entirely, like the original of the 
Young Man fleeing from the Captors of Christ. The latter was in the 
Barberini Gallery in the seventeenth century, and went from thence to 
England, where we lose all trace of its subsequent history.' 

Several copies of this, as of the Albinea picture, are still extant, 
however, and more than suffice to exclude it from the list of Correggio's 
juvenile works. - 

It is strange that the free and vigorous modelling of the nude in 
this picture, the type and expression of the young man's face, the broad 
and flowing treatment of the folds in his crimson mantle, the dramatic 
animation of the soldier's figure, and the unconventional nature of the 
whole composition should not have prevented a sound critic like Meyer 
from describing it as a work of about the year 1512. It cannot have 
been painted before 15 18, and was probably of later date. 

St. Mark the Evangelist introduces the following episode in his 
account of the capture of Christ : " And there followed him a certain 
young man, having a linen cloth cast about his naked body ; and the 
young men laid hold on him : and he left the linen cloth, and fled from 
them naked." This episode furnishes the motive of the main group. 
In the background, Judas approaches the Saviour and kisses him, and 
St. Peter cuts off Malchus' ear. 

The first part of our study may fittingly be brought to a close 
here. At this point in his career Correggio changed his field of 
action, and, strong in knowledge and experience, triumphantly as- 
serted his conquest of a purely individual style. His manner of life, 
however, was unchanged. It was a life dedicated to work and medi- 
tation, without dramatic incidents, and free from moral upheavals. 
He was good and honest, and lived modestly among his kindred, 
absorbed in his art. No audacious, heroic, or evil enterprises, no 

1 Mengs, ii. p. 175. Tirabosclii, vi. p. 284. Lanzi, ('/. c/ Av. c//. I'ungileoni, i. p. 25 ; 
ii. p. 39. Meyer, p. 89. 

2 Some of these are mentioned by Meyer, pp. 394 and 419. There is one in the 
Parma Gallery (No. 524), wliich was acquired with the Rosa-Prati Collection. One, 
attributed to Lelio Orsi, was in the Roumegous Collection. (See the catalogue printed 
at Parma in 1804.) Another was presented to the Academy of Arts of that city in 1855 
as a work of the Bolognese school. MSS. Mimites of ilic Academy, vi. p. 87. 


violent and unlawful passion, no catastrophes such as we read of in 
the biographies of Michelangelo and Benvenuto Cellini, for instance, 
throw a ray of light, though but a sinister one, upon his path. 

This redounds indeed to Correggio's honour. But his very virtues 
increase the difficulties of the biographer, who has to weave the web 
of his history, and inquire into his psychological structure without 
the help of anecdote and episode. 

Mr. L. MunJ, Londo 




the Parma Gallery 








AFTER Bologna, Parma is 
the largest of the cities 
which rise along the 
splendid highway constructed 
Ijy the Consul Marcus Emilius 
Lepidus between Rimini and 

Traversed by this artery, 
through which the tide of life 
has always flowed strongly, the 
city boasts a varied and animated 
history, bright with many glorious 

When the Italian spirit awoke 


from its trance, and shook off the long oppression of the eleventh 
century, our city was the first to produce an artist, who, thirsting 
for new ideals, turned away from the meagre forms of the Byzantine 
tradition, and strove to render the fairer and more genial conceptions 
of renascent art. This Benedetto Antelami, who still awaits his 
rightful place in the history of art, was the forerunner of Nicola Pisano, 
and inaugurated the new era in Italian sculpture.^ 

It was he who built and decorated the wonderful baptistery at 
Parma, and adorned the facade of the cathedral at Borgo San Donnino 
with sculptures. 

Just as Antelami strove to put new life into the rigid marble, 
so did Fra Salimbene seek to portray living facts and persons in his 
chronicles of the times. These he informed with a vivacity unknown 
to earlier writers, whose records have for the most part to be dug out 
from a load of barbarous Latin, and tedious philosophical digressions. 
In Fra Salimbene's pages, we look on a picture of the thirteenth 
century more complete than any we can reconstruct from official 
documents of the period. The emergence of the social spirit from 
the dark dungeon of superstition and horror, and its return to 
joy and freedom ; the rise of the various sodalities, formed at 
first to counterbalance the tyranny of the nobility, but degen- 
erating after a time into mere associations of boon-companions 
and swashbucklers ; the civil and religious feuds, the mixture 
of worldly subtlety and e.xtravagant mysticism in the intellectual 
life of the day — all these things are living realities for us in F"ra 
Salimbene's book, one of the most curious and important in our 

Simultaneously with the revival in art and letters, a great scientific 
development took place in Parma, whose schools produced students 
like Giovanni Buralli, better known as Fra Giovanni of Parma, 
the famous professor of the old University of Paris, and Bartolomeo 
of Parma, the author of various astronomical works, and " one of the 

' Cj. Vj. Tosclii is the autlior of an cxccllL-nt study on V>. Antclami's sculptures at Borgo 
San Donnino, in the Aychivio s/oruv dcllc arti, i. p. 14 f/ si-</., but a fuller monograph is 
much needed. 


clearest and most sagacious intellects of Italy in the thirteenth 
century." ^ 

Painting, too, has a v^enerable and continuous history in Parma, 
tracing its origin to one Everardo, who laboured there in 1068. From 
this time forward, as we know from the wall-paintings in the baptistery 
the cathedral, and various other churches, to say nothing of con- 
temporary records, Parma boasts a long series of painters. It cannot 

be said, however, that she owned an individual school before the time 
of Correggio. Her art was not even distinguished, like that of 
Bologna, by the predominance of a special type, which in the case 
of the latter, culminated in the school of Francia. Parma, though 
she owned many excellent painters, showed an over-eclectic tendency, 

' Giovanni Mariotti, Memorie e docuincnti per la storia dclla Universita di Parma ncl 
Medioevo. Parma, 1888. 


and this lack of cesthetic concentration delayed the formation of a 
characteristic style, and prevents her from figuring- prominently in 
the early history of art. 

Her geographical position was perhaps not the least among the 
determining causes of this result. Ferrarese and Bolognese influences 
reached her in a somewhat languid condition, contending as they did 
against Lombard activity, and more especially against the mediocre 
form it had assumed in Cremona ; they were further counteracted by 
the strong and sudden influx of Venetian tendencies. 

Whereas, on the one hand, no Ferrarese artist is known to have 
laboured in Parma during the second half of the fifteenth century, 
while Modena is represented by one Bartolomco Roseto, and Reggio 
by one Giacomo Antonio, the names of many Lombards are recorded 
in her annals, among them Francesco Boltraffio, painter, Lorenzo, 
engineer, Antonio d'Agrate, sculptor, all of Milan ; Antonio Fasolo, 
engineer, of Piacenza ; Giacomo Rovazzi, of Borgo San Donnino, and 
Giovanni of Pavia, both painters. 

But, as we have said, the influence which predominated in Parma 
until 1490 was that of the Cremonese school. The Parmesans had 
an evident predilection for works executed in Cremona, or by artists 
they summoned from Cremona to their own city. So early as 
April, 1358, one Francesco Frigeri of Parma ordered an Eutouibiueuf 
from Cremona, with figures carved in wood. This work was long- 
preserved in the crypt of Parma Cathedral. After 1450 we find 
Francesco Tacconi ^ and Benedetto Bcmbo, the painters, Aguccio and 
Maffeo Bagarotti, the engineers, Tommaso Sacchi, the carver, all of 
Cremona, established in the city.- Cremonese, too, were the artists 
who decorated the castles of Parma. Many notable evidences of their 
activity still remain to us, notably in the fortresses of Torchiara and 
Roccabianca, built by Pier Maria Rossi. 

A few natives of Parma belonged indeed to the Ferraro- Bolognese 
school, but these are either of much later date, like that Lodovico who 

1 There is a signed picture by Tacconi in the National Gallery. 

- E. Scarabelli Zunti, Doaimcnti e meniorie di belle arti parmigiane. MSS. in the 
Parma Museum of Antiquities. 


was one of Francia's scholars, or flourished in alien cities, like Gian 
Francesco Maineri of Ferrara.^ 

Jacopo Loschi, who, although a mediocre artist, flourished in Parma 
for many years at the head of a large studio, had been trained in the 
school of Cremona. From him, and perhaps from Tacconi, the elder 
Mazzoli received their first teaching, although, after the return of 
Temperelli from Venice, they improved upon the forms and colour 
thus acquired. 

Cristoforo Caselli, called Temperelli, was undoubtedly the best 
artist who flourished in Parma before the advent of Correggio, and 
among the best, indeed, of the whole territory. Born about the middle 
of the fifteenth century, he went to Venice before 1488, to study under 
Gian Bellini, and remained there for some time after his powers had 
fully matured. He must have enjoyed a considerable reputation in 
Venice, for the Signoria invited him to collaborate with Alvise Vivarini, 
Lattanzio da Rimini, Vincenzo da Treviso, and Francesco Bissolo, in 
the decorations of the Hall of the Great Council. In 1494 he was 
still engaged on the frescoes of the Ducal Palace which perished in the 
fire of 1577, and on other works which added considerably to his fame, 
so much so, that he was eulogised in his native city by Francesco 
Maria Grapaldo in his work, Dc partibiis Acdiuvi. The deed by which 
he undertook to paint the Assciiihly of the Quick and the Dead ^\\o\n's, 
him to have been in Parma in the spring of 1496. We do not, how- 
ever, believe that he settled there at this date. He returned to Venice, 
where he remained some time longer, probably till late in 1498. It is 
not until the following year that we find him working in Parma, where 
he remained until his death in 152 i. 

Two other artists of Parma whose style was formed in the school of 
Venice were Giovanni Pietro Zarotti, known only by a single picture 
of the year 1496, and Josafat Araldi, whose name occurs in two or 
three documents before 1520, and who is further represented by a 
most curious picture. 

Temperelli, returning from Venice fresh from the study of Bellini 
and his school, no doubt exercised some influence upon Alessandro 
1 iVd. Venturi, G. F. dc Maineri {Arc/iiv. storic. dell' arte, i. p. 88.) 



Araldi. The latter, who flourished at Parma till 1528, had, indeed, 
gleaned something from nearly all the famous masters of his day. In 
the ceiling he painted in the convent of San Paolo, he reproduced 
compositions by Raphael, Francia, Costa, and others, with very slight 
\'ariations, and in the chapel of St. Catherine he imitated Pinturicchio. 

The Parma Gallery 
possesses a large copy 
of Leonardo's Last 
Supper by him. He 
sought inspiration 
from many sources, 
endeavouring, with 
all possible zeal and 
good-will, to assimil- 
ate the new discover- 
ies of art, and keep 
in touch with the 
spirit of the times. 

Yet, although these 
artists and others of 
less importance did 
all in their power to 
maintain the dignity 
of Parma, the city 
was dissatisfied. Her 
sense of humiliation 
was keen when she 
saw herself reduced to 

Formerly in the Consorzio at Parma. the praCtlce of fomiS 

already obsolete. 
Stimulated by the consciousness of her mediocre position in this respect, 
she had an ardent desire for a loftier artistic ideal, and longed to find 
herself on the same level as the neighbouring cities, Bologna, Ferrara, 
and Mantua. Parma's attitude at the beginning of the sixteenth century 
was one of appeal and invocation. Eager for some new development, 


she stretched out inviting- hands, summoning artists within her walls 
or demanding their works. Francia and Gian Battista Cima re- 
sponded to her call from Bologna and Venice respectively, bringing 

cesco da Cotignola also answered the summons in person ; but the two 
former returned at once to their own cities and workshops, and the 
two latter she herself had no desire to keep, finding them little superior 
to her own masters. A brief visit of Leonardo's is recorded in 
1514, but he 
never worked 
in the city, 
and historians, 
Jansen and 
M i 1 a n e s i 
among the 
number, are 
mistaken in 
S o d o m a to 
have been 
there in 1518.^ 
It is great- 
ly to the credit 
of Parma that 

her efforts to s^. Catherine uekoke the uoctuks, by akaldi. 

win an hon- f'-"^" =" ^"'"^■ 

ourable place 

for herself in the history of the Renaissance emanated entirely 

from her citizens. Her dignity was not derived from a powerful 

family like the Bentivogli, the Estensi, or the Gonzaghi, who sought 

' The error arose from a confusion between the famous Vercellian and a liunible 
Parmesan artist of the same name, Giovanni Antonio Bazzi, who is mentioned in con- 
temporary documents as a citizen of Parma, where he was living in 1511 and in 1521, 
whereas Sodoma is known to have been elsewhere at those dates. See G. PVizzoni, Arte 
italia?ia del Rinascimento, p. 151. G. Campori, Gli artisti iialiani e itranicri lugli stati 
estensi, p. 58. E. Scarabelli Zunti, MSS. already quoted. 


an added lustre for their famous houses in the patronage of art and 
letters, but from her commune, her clergy, her rehgious bodies, 
and her burghers. This is the more remarkable in view of the fre- 
quent changes in her internal polity, and the absence of sustained and 
equable rule. Forced to rely on her own resources, she was at the 
height of artistic glory when it had begun to wane in all the neighbour- 
ing states. 

In 1499 Parma fell into the hands of Louis XII.; it passed, 
however, to Julius II. in consequence of the league between the Pope 
and the Emperor Maximilian. On the death of Julius the city became 
subject to Milan, and afterwards (15 13) to Leo X., from whom it was 
wrested by Francis I. The Pope, assisted by the Emperor Charles 
v., recovered it in 1521, and appointed Francesco Guicciardini 
governor. After an interval of some six years, the Connetable de 
Bourbon swooped down upon it with his ferocious soldiery. The 
occupation was happily a brief one. Clement \TI. reconquered it, and 
it remained a papal appanage until Pope Paul III. (Farnese) made it 
a feoff of his own family. 

No stable form of government was established, however, until 
1545, and Machiavelli tells us that its provisional rulers, uncertain of 
their tenure, were rather inclined to despoil than to enrich the city. 
Her citizens, however, faithful to their birthplace, endeavoured to 
beautify it even in the thick of political reverses. They built the two 
splendid churches of San Giovanni Evangelista and Santa Maria della 
Steccata, the architects of which were Bernardino and his son Giovanni 
Francesco, of Torchiara ; they restored the facade of San Sepolcro, 
rebuilt the Oratory of the Conception in the Franciscan church, 
enlarged the convents of San Giovanni and San Paolo, and raised a 
forest of scaffolding around the walls and under the domes of the 
growing structures to enable painters and sculptors to adorn the whole 
with ornament and figures. 

It was at the moment when the aesthetic enthusiasm was at its 
height that Correggio came, like some beneficent spirit, to Parma. 
Little reason indeed is there to lament the fact that he never visited 
Rome or any other great city ! Parma, rising in smiling tranquillity 


upon her fertile plains, girdled by castles and villages, and looking out 
upon the vaporous line of hills from which the streams which give 
her water descend into the champaign, offered our painter not only 
the serenity that suited his temperament, but a vaster field of 
activity than had 
ever been allot- 
ted to any artist. 
There were al- 
tar-pieces to be 
painted, rooms 
to be decorated ; 
the joyous fan- 
cies of his genius 
were to be allow- 
ed ample scope 
in the decoration 
of two stately 
cupolas. What 
greater oppor- 
tunities had 
Michel angelo 
and Raphael at 
Rome, Leonardo 
at Milan, or 
Titian at Venice? 
differ as to the 

exact date when hie axm^uahu-,-, wn-.. s,-, CAmmiNE a:.u m. si, a, ha;., AAriiLi- ... 

Correggio was in tl,e Parma Gallery. 

summoned to 

Parma. Some say 1 5 iS, others 15 19. Some, again, declare that the in- 
vitation came from the Benedictines of .San Giovanni Evangelista, others 
that it was given by Giovanna Piacenza, the abbess of .San Paolo.^ 

1 I'ungileoni, i. p. 76 e/ ^t^. 
Rondani, Cc/me visse il Correggi 

Meyer, p. 
p. 45, etc. 

Martini, p. 73. Richter, p. 15 el seq. 



We have no positive evidence on either point ; but history and 
a critical examination of the master's work seem aHke to lead to the 
conclusion that Correggio came to Parma in 1518, to work in the 
convent of San Paolo. 

He was in his native city in the spring of 151S. He appears as 
witness to a deed in January of that year, and acted as sponsor 

to an infant girl on 
March i ~} Through- 
out the remaining 
months we find no 
mention of him. 

Where was he ? 
W'hat was he doing at 
this time ? 

The first payments 
received by Correggio 
for his frescoes in the 
church and monastery 
of San Giovanni Evan- 
gclista were made in 
1520 ; they continued 
at intervals till 1524. 
Now a comparison of 
the facial types, the 
chords of colour, the 
details of form, and, 

In Ihe Lille Museum. aboVC all, thc techul- 

cal treatment, in the 
surviving frescoes of San Giovanni and of San Paolo, prove most 
conclusively that the latter were executed first. We know that 
Allegri had many interests in 1519 in his native place, where he 
certainly spent the greater part of the year ; we are therefore 
inclined to think that he painted the frescoes in the Camera di 
San Paolo between April and December, 15 18; that he returned to 

' Punyileoni, ii. pp. 115-116. 



Correggio after completing the work, and remained there for a whole 
year, and that in 1520 he came back to Parma at the invitation of 
the Benedictines. We know indeed that he was at Correggio on 
January 18, 15 19, where he acted as witness to the deed of settle- 
ment by which the dowry of Oliva Chierici was conveyed to F"rancesco 
Aromani, his maternal uncle; a fortnight later he received a donation 
from the same uncle of a house and furniture, in the Borgo Vecchio, 
with a few acres of land ; 
in September he was pre- 
sent at the drawing up of 
two deeds by the notary 
Francesco Alfonso Bottoni ; 
finally, he was at Correggio, 
as we know, in October, 
when the archpriest took his 
receipt for payment of all 
charges connected with the 
altar-piece he had painted 
for the church of xAlbinea.^ 
These various evidences all 
favour the conjecture that 
Allegri spent the greater part 
of the year 15 18 at Parma, 
painting in the convent oi 
San Paolo, and all the fol- cloister of the convent of san .aolo, iakma. 

lowing year in Correggio, 

awaiting fresh commissions. Father Affo and Martini are of opinion 
that the frescoes were painted in 15 18, because the Abbess Giovanna's 
health gave way in 1519, and she was never able to leave her bedroom, 
where all convocations of the sisterhood were held, instead of in the 
choir, or other parts of the convent. " It is therefore highly probable," 
says Affo, "that the frescoes were completed before this." - 

• Pungileoni, ii. pp. 109, no, 127, and 146. 

" Ireneo Affo, Ragionarncnti sopra una stanza dipinta da Antonio Allegri da Correggio 
nel monastero di San Paolo in Parma, pp. 56-57. Parma, 1794. Martini, p. 76. 



The argument is far from conclusive, for the abbess may very 
well have been lodged in another part of the convent, or she may 
have kept her bed in the adjoining room, which Araldi had decorated 
in I 5 14. The facts we have pointed out are more convincing. 

That Allegri was first summoned to Parma for the purpose of 
painting these frescoes seems to us highly probable in view of the 
relations subsisting between the city of Correggio and the Cavaliere 
Scipione Montino della Rosa. This personage, "a very gallant 
gentleman and lover of the arts," was the abbess's brother-in-law, and 
the administrator of her aftairs. She herself also had acquaintances 
in Correggio. 

Donna Giovanna Piacenza, the daughter of one Marco, a nobleman 
of Parma, and of Agnese Bergonzi, was appointed abbess of the 
convent upon the death of her aunt, Orsina Bergonzi, April 25, 
1507. She inaugurated her reign by depriving the Garimberti 
of the administration of the possessions Orsina had confided to 
their charge, and placing it in the hands of the Cavaliere Scipione. 
Her action in this matter gave rise to the most atrocious contest, 
soon taking the form of bloody personal encounters, in one of 
which a member of the Garimberti family was slain by Scipione. The 
convent suffered many indignities in consequence of these scandalous 
proceedings. The ministers of justice, believing Scipione to be in 
hiding there, insisted on a rigorous search of the building. Nor was 
this the last of the matter. A contemporary chronicler describes 
another domiciliary visit in 15 16, when the governor of the city, 
Francesco Torelli, forced the convent gates in the dead of the night, 
to the great terror and confusion of the startled nuns. 

Now this Scipione, the kinsman 2iX\6. protdgd of Giovanna Piacenza, 
was, of all the citizens of Parma, the one whose relations with Cor- 
reggio were then and afterwards most intimate and constant. He, 
as administrator of the abbess's affairs, commissioned the painter to 
decorate her room, and, as one of the wardens of the cathedral, 
entrusted him with the frescoes of the dome and apse. When the 
painter died, leaving some drawings he was engaged on for the Duke 
of Mantua unfinished, the duke gave orders that they should be 


inquired for at Scipione's house, a significant proof of the intimacy 
between the two. 

Pungileoni discovered that in 1502 Nicolo da Correggio appointed 
his procurator, Bartolomeo Alontino, apostolic prothonotary, and one 
of the witnesses to the renunciation of patronage made by the house 
of Correggio in the church of Sant' Antonio at Parma. From the 
baptismal registers of the city we learn that several of the Correggeschi 
and Montini, Scipione among the number, acted as sponsors to 
children of the house of Fontanelli, to one of whom the Abbess 
Giovanna Piacenza appears as godmother on September 16, 1511.^ 
The intimate relations maintained by Scipione and the abbess with 
persons in Correggio, and their frequent visits to the city just at the 
time when Allegri's youthful genius was manifesting its power, make 
it more than probable that to them the artist owed his summons to 
Parma. The Benedictines, again, no doubt invited him to decorate 
their church after seeing the frescoes in the Camera di San Paolo. 

Throughout the first two thirds of the si.xteenth century, life in an 
Italian convent had none of that austerity afterwards enforced by the 
Council of Trent, nor of the stern asceticism of later times. The 
frequency with which the blooming daughters of great houses were 
consigned to these retreats had resulted in the bringing together of 
clamorous bands of young women, more disposed for the pleasures of 
life than for mortification and mystic reverie. Their cells, far from 
being silent and squalid, were adorned with the thousand objects fur- 
nished by Renaissance art, and gay with flowers, sunshine, and the 
sounds of music and song. Love, no unknown visitant among them, 
was the cause of much sentimental depression and many lively feuds. 
The sisters lingered at the gratings, diverting themselves w^ith gossip 
and chatter, receiving surreptitious gifts and messages from without ; 
returning to their rooms to indulge their emotion, as they scanned some 
amorous sonnet, furtively hidden in their bosoms. But such moments 
of solitary meditation were brief! Presently the pensive fair one would 
be summoned to take part in some fresh conversation. Visitors came 

1 Op. (it. i. p. 75 ; ii. p. 115. It must also be borne in mind that Oliva Chicrici, wife 
of Francesco Aromani, Correggio's maternal uncle, was a native of Parma. 


and went perpetually : fashionable ladies, elegant abb(fs, the music- 
master, a band of foreign nobles making an inspection of the works 
of art in all the religious houses of the city. The dull and rigorous 
silence of the ascetic was unknown. From the various cells came 
the sounds of the harpsichord, or the lilt of gay madrigals. In the 
cloisters there was a perpetual buzz of argument, scandal, and laughter 
provoked by some outburst of jealousy, some affront, some piquant 

The world they left did not forget them. Relatives, friends, and 
admirers loaded them with presents, cosdy stuffs, perfumed gloves, 
trinkets, sweetmeats, the works of the poets most in vogue. Lovers 
as fervent as any who praised the ladies of the outside world lauded 
their charms. And when passion agitated their hearts, it was whispered 
that they did not always prove severe. 

The reader who supposes the above sketch to be overdrawn is 
referred to various documents which have come to light dealing with 
monastic life in Italy during the sixteenth century. ^ The nature and 
scope of the present work forbid us to dwell on the frivolous or 
scandalous proceedings which necessitated the intervention of the 
ecclesiastical and political authorities from time to time, with certain 
stereotyped results. An inquiry was held, commissioners of sur- 
veillance were appointed, the most disorderly and contumacious of 
the nuns were punished, the whole convent was laid under severe 
discipline for a month. Then there was a relaxation of the severity, 
and the culprits returned with new zest to their life of riotous merri- 

The convent of San Paolo at Parma was a typical community 
of the class we have described, devoted to the arts, accessible to all 
the pagan seductions of the Renaissance, eager to participate in all the 
varied life of the day. 

We have seen that the nuns were on two occasions surprised 
by a search-party, on suspicion of harbouring a gallant cavalier! 

' ]'ita dclla Afadrc Filice Rasponi. Bologna, i'SS3. A. IJorgognoni, Studi di 
ktteraiura stoiica, i). 263 c/ ^o/. Bologna, 1891. Arvede Barine, Portrails di: femmcs. 
Paris, 1894. 


Among the petitions addressed to Julius II. and Leo X. while Parma 
was under Papal rule, was one praying that the nuns of the city should 
be compelled to observe their vows of seclusion, and to amend their 
lax and disorderly manner of life. Discipline was accordingly enforced 
in the case of some of the convents, but San Paolo remained exempt ; 
and in 1524 the community again petitioned Clement VII. for a 
decree ordering the claustration of nuns. The sisters of San Paolo 
resisted and were far from amenable ; Monsignor Guidiccioni and 
other persons of importance were obliged to exert themselves to the 
utmost to persuade them into at least a semblance of obedience, and 
thus avoid a public scandal. They would not, however, abate 
anything of the privileges enjoyed by their abbess, Donna Giovanna 
Piacenza. It was agreed that future abbesses should be elected and 
re-elected year by year, but nothing was to be altered as far as she 
was concerned. Her income, private apartments, and other advantages 
were retained. The contests, threats, and discussions that resulted 
from this business must have weighed heavily on the poor abbess, 
already in bad health, and no doubt hastened her end. She died a 
few days after August 28, 1524, the date on which the decree enforcing 
the strict claustration of nuns was solemnly proclaimed. 

Knowing what was the manner of life, and what the prevailing 
tone in this convent, we shall feel no surprise at the abbess's choice 
of a theme from pagan mythology for the decoration of her private 

A tesselated pavement laid in another room of the monastery by 
Maria Benedetti (abbess from 147 1 to 14S6) was ornamented, not 
only with figures of gay ladies and cavaliers, but with pierced and 
flaming hearts and sentimental mottoes such as : So/o in fc spcro, 
Rosa, and Cam il iiiio /csoro. 

We can picture to ourselves the arrival of Correggio, a young man 
of barely twenty-four, at Parma ; his entry into the convent, his 
colloquy with the abbess. She explains that she does not want a 
decoration of a severely devotional character. Age and infirmities 
are creeping upon her, and she wishes the evils of these last years to 
be mitigated as far as possible. Let her see a troop of merry children 


smiling at her through the woven trellis of her bower ! Show her 
the jocund huntress Diana, and Apollo, Minerva, and the Graces ! 
The work goes on. The sisters gather round the windows in the 
cloister beyond, anxious to see the frescoes, and perhaps not altogether 
indifferent to the painter ! Ah ! if those fair children, sporting so joy- 
ously above, could descend, and seek maternal caresses in their arms ! 
The young artist, already encircled by the glamour of fame, looks up, 
and smiles ! The gentle watchers move thoughtfully away. 

When the reforming agitation broke out, the Council of Trent, 
alarmed for the safety of the Church, proceeded to stringent measures 
for the enforcement of discipline and of religious observances. It became 
at first difficult, and finally almost impossible, to obtain entrance to the 
convent, and when communication with the outer world was thus cut 
off, Correggio's work was almost forgotten. It is strange that the 
ostentatious asceticism of the seventeenth century should have spared 
it, and that no stern abbess among the many who succeeded Giovanna 
should have insisted on obliterating the nudities and divinities of her 
chamber. Their pride in the possession of such a treasure perhaps 
prevailed over conscientious scruples. 

Brief mentions of its existence were made from time to time, but in 
a vague and dubious manner. Padre Aflo gleaned some scanty notices 
of the work from writers of the last century, the earliest of these being 
Padre Maurlzio Zappata, the next the anonymous author of the A^ofa 
dellc pin famose pitturc dcllc cliicse di /'(?;-;//(7, printed In 1725,^ the 
next Tiraboschi (who relied on a description given him by the painter, 
Antonio Bresciani), and so on, to Ratti, and later biographers of 

It is our good fortune to be the first to reproduce the precious 
testimony of a contemporary witness. In the unpublished Diario 
parniigiaiio of Smeraldo Smeraldi, a distinguished engineer and mathe- 
matician, there is a description of a " Visit to the convent of San 

' J'iagioiiaiiii-n/i', etc., p. 8 ct scq. Several monographs have been written on these 
frescoes. See Pitture di Antonio Allegri esistenti nel nionas/ero di San Paolo. Thirty 
l)lates, with descriptive text. Parma, 1800. Descrizione di una pitlura di A. A., dctto il 
Correggio. Bertoluzzi, MS. in the Parma Library, chaps. A A. ii. 3703. 


Paolo," in company with Signor Cesarc of Fcrrara and others, on 
August I, 1598. He writes as follows of Correggio's decorations: 
" We then went to see the rooms inhabited by the princess, and I 
was shown the chamber decorated by Master Antonio da Correggio. 
The vault is painted with a trellis of vines and fruit, interspersed 
with ovals, containing many lovely children in a great variety of attitudes ; 
the lunettes are decorated with compositions in chiaroscuro ; below 
these is a cornice with a simulated drapery, against which are disposed 
cups, tlagons, and other vessels of silver, all Ijeautifully rendered." ^ 

The room is almost square in shape. It is not known how the walls 
were originally decorated, but they were very probably hung with the 
so-called " verdure " tapestry. The stone ornament of the three door- 
ways is very elegantly sculptured ; the abbess's arms (three crescent 
moons diagonally disposed) and her initials 10. PL. appear in each of 
the three friezes, and in one the motto Omnia virtiid pcrvia, a 
legend, says Afto, by which the abbess entered her protest against 
the proposed exclusion of strangers from the convent and from 
her apartments. These doors have been displaced more than once, 
first about 1560, when a refectory was built next to the room, making- 
it very dark,- and again in 1856, when the large columned entrance on 
the west was opened to give more light in the room. 

The fireplace, however, is in its original place ; and the ornaments 
of its corbels and frieze are in perfect preservation. On the latter is 
carved the device : Igncin gladio iic fodias (Stir not the fire with the 

From the cornice above the walls sixteen ribs rise to the centre of 
the vault, forming a like number of lunettes. Correggio covered the 
whole with frescoes, adapting his scheme of decoration to the structure 
of the vault. The design is a bower of foliage supported on a trellis 
of canes, with sixteen oval openings, through which a joyous band 
of naked Amorini, moving apparently along an outside gallery, are 
seen at play. 

1 MS. in the Palatine Library at Parma, No. 535, fol. 81. Communicated by the 
learned Luigi Barbieri. 

- Baistrocchi, N'otizic di pittori. MSS. in the Royal Library, Parma, No. 1106. 


Along each rib of the vault run two shafts of the simulated trellis, 
terminating above in a disc, containing the gilded arms of the abbess, 
below, in a cluster of gilded leaves in relief. The central disc is sur- 
rounded by a star-like frame of intertwined pink scarves, from which 
bunches of fruit hang into the sectors above the ovals. 

Each lunette is enclosed in a semicircular framework of seashells, 

springing from capitals formed of two rams' heads, from the spiral 

horns of which hang strings of precious stones, amber, and pearls. 

The foliated finials of the ribs above form part of these capitals. 

Finally, between the capitals, on the cornice under the lunettes, a 

festooned drapery supports trophies of 

^^^''v vases, platters, avi phone, a small flask, 

i@P' and an axe. 

, - I "■ '\\\& children who appear through 

^^ the ovals are all occupied in various 

i/, ) «> fashions ; a common aim and senti- 

11 f* . ment, however, governs their playful 

//^ \ i. . • 

; * ^ I J activity. Some little episode occa- 

'tf . \»».«^ 1 ' z^''^" sionally connects the ////// of one oval 

'/Vj^,^5^> ' i ill 1^ '^^''■^ those of the next. Let us try to 

follow the thread of interest throueh- 

'^'^ out, beginning with those beside the 

COAT OF AKMs OF TTO ABBESS GiovANNA fireplacc. (1) Otic of thcm seems 
about to climb into the interior of the 
bower. He has already thrust his right leg through the opening, and 
pulls away from the detaining grasp of his more timid companion, who 
holds him back with a vigorous, but most graceful movement of his 
whole little body. The desire of the other to mount the trellis within 
is explained by the action of the group in the next oval, (ii) where one 
Cupid grasps eagerly at the bunch of fruit suspended above, while the 
other points out the most desirable apple. Let us now follow the two 
who are carrying a great stone (iii). One, who wears a mantle slung 
across his shoulder, and carries a wand in his left hand, bears the stone 
on his head ; his comrade helps him to steady it. Those in the next 
oval are not such good friends ; (iv) one has possessed himself of a 

• ii- SixUm Chaplcfi 


mask, which the fascinating httlc rogue behind him attempts to snatch 
from Iiim. The quarrel attracts the attention of one putto in the 
neiglihouring group (v), the other is busily engaged in caressing 
a beautiful white dog, 
which looks up with 
eyes full of gentle in- 

W^e now come to a 
group of little belliger- 
ents (vi). One baby 
draws a dart from the 
quiver, while his friend 
instructs him where to 
aim it. Others make a 
valiant effort to raise a 
long and heavy lance 
(vii) ; their neighbours 
string a bow (viii). 
The next have a more 
troublesome business on 
hand (i.\) ; several of 
them cluster round a 
great mastiff, which 
they endeavour to pre- 
vent from falling on 
the trembling dog two 
piitti in the next oval 
are doing their best to 

protect (x). But it is time to start for the chase ; a Cupid lifts the 
horn slung across his neighbour's shoulder, and raises it to his lips ; 
the latter stands on his rights, however, and tries to snatch it away. 
Meanwhile, another blows such a terrific blast that two of his comrades 
stop their ears (xi and xii). One beautiful boy triumphantly holds 
up the head of the stag (xiii), which others are about to crown (xiv). 
A Cupid in the penultimate oval (xv) hastens to assist at this solemn 


ceremony, but his companion draws him away towards the last pair, 
who are fighting for the possession of a pole, with which they propose 
to attack the fruit above (xvi).^ 

This unity of argument, this sequence of infantile episodes, has 
passed almost unnoticed hitherto ; we shall see, however, that it was a 
very characteristic trait of Correggio's compositions. The /;////' of the 
Catucra di San Paolo are robust and vigorously modelled urchins ; 
they are foreshortened in a masterly manner ; but in some of the 
little figures there is an undeniable clumsiness, which is greatly 
modified in the genii of San Giovanni Evangelista, and disappears 
entirely from those of the Duomo. Even among these earlier groups 
there are individual figures of ideal beauty ; but all are somewhat 
too rubicund, and their laughter has not the gleeful abandon that 
charms in their successors. 

As a whole, however, the composition is marked by a delightful 
vivacity and extraordinary ease and spirit. 

The lunettes in chiaroscuro are undoubtedly the most marvellous 
part of the composition. We can recall nothing of the same period 
and genre which surpasses them, either in form or execution. 

The painter has represented them as niches, containing statues : 
either isolated figures, or groups. We will briefly describe these, 
following the order observed in dealing with the ovals, (i) The 
Graces. The motive is that of the classic group, but the spirited 
treatment is entirely novel. Here we have no longer the graceful 
feminine forms and serene composure of attitude characteristic of 
antique art, but three robust and finely modelled figures, their move- 
ments full of ease and vigour, their loose hair floating in the wind. It 
is by no means certain that Correggio drew his inspiration from some 
piece of classic sculpture. The motive was a common one in his time ; 

1 There is a drawing in the Weimar Museum of five of these ovals, in red chalk, on 
which the signature ANT. C. appears no less than three times. This insistence on the 
monogram is very suspicious in connection with Correggio, only two of whose juvenile 
works are signed, and by no means persuades us of the authenticity of the drawing. It 
agrees in every detail with the paintings, but is very coarsely executed, and bears traces 
of numerous corrections. The Cupid who carries the stone, and the one who is seated 
with the jiole in his hand, are especially faulty. 


it was frequently used in emblems and on medals ; we have seen that 
it figured on the medal of Giovanni Pico della Mirandola. (ii) Adonis, 
holding a staff in his uplifted right hand, (iii) Bonus Eventus. A 
young man with a mantle drawn round his loins ; in his left hand he 
holds a cornucopia, and with his right he pours a libation on an altar 
adorned with bas-reliefs, (iv) The Earth. A seated figure, of calm 
and solemn aspect, her left elbow leaning on a rock. She is draped 
in an ample robe, falling in graceful folds about her form. In one 
hand she holds a cornucopia, in the other a scorpion. A serpent rears 
its crest above her forehead. At her feet lies a basket filled with ears 
of corn.^ 

We may, perhaps, read the allegory as follows : — The Earth in her 
multiform fecundity, animal and vegetable, brings forth good and 
necessary things, such as corn and fruit, and also venomous creatures, 
such as the asp and the scorpion. (v) Juno Chastised. She is 
suspended from the sky, her hands bound together, and a golden 
anvil fastened to her feet to make the punishment more severe. 
In Book XV. of the Iliad, Jupiter, threatening Juno, reminds her 
of having already inflicted this punishment upon her. The modelling 
of this lithe figure is superb, and the curved shadow it casts into 
the niche gives it a strangely Illusory effect of high relief, (vi) 
A W^stal. The ample draperies of a long, full robe fall about her 
figure. She holds a torch in her left hand, and a patera in her right, 
from which she pours a libation on a circular altar, (vii) This figure 
of an old man reclining on a couch has been supposed by some to 
symbolize Repose, by others Meditation ; others again see in it merely 
a PJiilosopher. He holds an ear of corn in his right hand, (viii) 
A Dorie Temple of Jupiter. The statue of the god is seen through the 
open door. The architecture is indicated in a masterly fashion by a few- 
simple lines. (i.\) The Fates, seated on a wooded hill. Clotho holds 
the distaff, Lachesis draws out the thread, and Atropos cuts it with 

1 Meyer makes some curious mistakes in his description of this lunette (p. 119). 
He calls the scorpion an apple, and the basket of corn a basket of fruit. Others sup- 
])Ose the figure to represent Summer, seeing in the serpent on her head a proboscis, 
and in the scorpion a zodiacal sign, regardless of the fact that, as such, it symbolises 


her scissors, and twists the short threads round the spindle. It is 
a pecuHar feature of this composition that the Fates are represented 
as young women, winged. How did the painter, or the person who 
suggested the subject to him, intend this allegory to be read ? Perhaps 
the idea he seeks to convey is that life, like all other gifts of the 
gods to man, is beautiful always, beautiful in its birth, in its develop- 
ment, and in its close, (x) A woman, who walks along with stately 
grace, her draperies fluttering in the breeze. She holds an infant in 
her arms. Called by some, Ves/a loith iJic Infant Jupiter ; by others, 
Ino Lcncotkoc, the nurse of Bacchus, (xi) Ceres with the torch and 
apple, (xii) A satyr leaning against the stump of a tree, to which 
his pipe is slung. He is seen in profile, and is blowing into a shell, 
(xiii) Chastity. She holds up a dove in her right hand, and with 
her left she slightly raises the gauzy robe through which the 
contours of her blooming form are visible. It is difficult to imagine 
a more graceful outline, or a more delicate effect of transparency 
in drapery, (xiv) Virginity, with a lily in her hand, (xv) Fortune, 
a cornucopia in her left hand, and in her right a rudder, resting on a 
globe, (xvi) Minerva, a helmet on her head, a torch and an axe 
in her hands. All these exquisite chiarosatri, illuminated from below, 
throw shadows which are diffused in the upper part and the back- 
ground of the niches, and are so lightly and artfully disposed that the 
figures seem to hover in space. In form they follow antique models ; 
but each conception is transformed, and moulded afresh, so to speak, 
by a new and very personal sentiment, as we have already pointed 
out in describing the Fates and the Graces. Various antique coins 
and medals have been suggested as the originals from which the painter 
drew his inspiration, but in no case do these agree exactly with the 
chiaroscuri. The Fortinic, says Gherardo de Rossi, ^ whose sugges- 
tion is adopted by Meyer, was probably derived from a medal of 
Vespasian, with the motto Fort u nee Rediici; the Bonus Evcntus bears 
some likeness to a medal of Nero, with the legend Genio August i ; the 
Vestal recalls a medal struck by Domltian, inscribed Divi Cccsaris 
mater ; according to Martini, the Ceres is closely akin to a figure of 
' Dcsifizidiic di una pittiira, etc., pp ■^■^, 37 and 39. 


the goddess on several antique coins. None of these suggestions, 
however, are very confidently maintained by their authors, though it is, 
of course, evident that the painter was inspired by antique models. 
Affo, influenced by his own archaeological learnings, sought to prove 
that there were several collectors of coins and cameos in Parma in 
Correggio's time ; he mentions Taddeo Ugoleto, Bernardo Bergonzi, 
Giorgio Anselmi, the Prati, and the Baiardi.^ But his demonstration 
is of little value, taking into account the fact that every house of 
any importance during the Renaissance owned collections of antiques, 
and that AllegrI had seen all the treasures of the Lords of Correggio, 
and of Isabella d'Este. 

We are somewhat at a loss to understand Martini's assertion that 
the artist was governed in his choice of these subjects by the place 
they were to adorn. If this were so, how arc we to explain the 
presence of the Satyr, the Graces, the Adonis, the nurse of the infant 
Bacchus, etc. ? The biographer was misled, no doubt, by the Vestal, 
the Chastity, and the Virginity, which may be allowed to have had 
at least a theoretic bearing on the lives of the nuns. 

The scheme of decoration was governed by no very strict ideas 
of relation, as a whole. But the motive which may be said to strike 
the keynote of the composition is the Diana painted on the wall 
over the fireplace. This figure was probably chosen, not as the 
symbol of purity, but as the personification of the moon in the Abbess's 
coat of arms. The goddess is surrounded by a jocund band of Cupids 
armed with hunting implements, and by a cohort of her Olympian 
comrades. The crescent moon, repeated over the doors and in the 
centre of the vault, shines again in the fair hair of Diana, who, waving 
her azure veil, sits on the edge of a car drawn by two stags, her bow 
slung across her shoulders. The facial type of the Diana is that of 
the Madonna in the Repose in Egypt of the Uffizi, and of the con- 
temporary pictures in the Prado and at Hamijton Court. The colour 
is hot, especially in the flesh tints of the Cupids, who have not the 
delicate pearly contours of the Amorini in later works. The folds of 
the draperies, though less severe than those of the artist's first pictures, 

• Jia^ionamc/iti', etc., p. 45. 



are still long, scanty, and soberly disposed, and have none of the 
daring convolutions he afterwards affected. These characteristics 
seem to us sufficient to fix the approximate date of this work, even 
setting aside a technical peculiarity, unnoticed as far as I know by 
any former critic of Correggio, which fully establishes the priority of 
the San Paolo frescoes to all existing decorations by the master, and 
settles the question as to what was his first undertaking in Parma. 

Krescu by Correggk 

. di San Paolo. 

Following the example of Mantegna, from whose Camera dcgli Sposi 
he no doubt took the general idea of his composition, he painted his 
frescoes with short, close strokes, and, instead of putting in the lights 
upon the surfaces in shadow, he glazed over in the shadows the light 
ground. In treating the flesh-tints, he gradually built up the more 
opaque tones, one upon another. In all the frescoes he subsequently 
painted, even in those executed very soon afterwards, at San Giovanni, 
he abandoned this method almost entirely, blending his tints on the 
palette and on the walls themselves. The lunettes have changed a 


o-ood deal in tone. The yellowish touches with which the master 
brought the shells of the framework and the heads of the rams into 
relief have become merged in the ground of the same tint, and have 
assumed a dull, putty-coloured hue. 

The work we have described has suftered in various other wajs. 
The foliage of the bower, more especially in the garlands round the 
ovals, has been coarsely restored, shapeless blotches of colour doing 
duty for leaves. The sky against which the Cupids are relieved, 
originally of a soft greenish-blue, is now, save in a few isolated 
patches, covered with a heavy ashen coating, which ought to be 
removed. Finally, all that part of the fresco adjoining the old chimney 
has been greatly injured by the snow and rain which penetrated 
through this channel. 

But what a glory of colour must have burst on the spectator 
who entered this vaulted chamber in its first freshness ! With what 
delighted wonder must the abbess, the nuns, lorio da Erba, the 
architect of this and the adjoining room, and Francesco d'Agrate, 
the sculptor of the stone reliefs, have gazed on the newly-finished 
work ! With what satisfaction must Scipione Montino have contem- 
plated its beauties ! 

There were some, however, whose admiration was probably not 
of so jubilant a nature. The painters of the city, more especially 
Temperelli and Araldi, suddenly saw their art condemned and their 
labours stultified. The blow must have fallen with peculiar heaviness 
on Araldi, who, as painter to the convent of San Paolo, had decorated 
the choir of the church ^ and the room adjoining that painted by 
Correggio only a few years before (15 10 and 15 14), covering the whole 
with a patient net-work of ornaments, grotesques, small historical 
compositions, and obscure allegories. 

Vasari tells how Francia, seeing Raphael's Saint Cecilia " not 
painted, but living . . . ." was so overcome with grief and envy at 
the beauty of the picture, that he shortly afterwards took to his bed, 
and was commonly reported to have died of sorrow." 

1 Leone Smagliati, Cnvnuiu; MSS. Baistrocchi, Nothie di pittori, MSS. in the Royal 
Palatine Library at Parma. ■ Vite dei piic eccelhtiti pittori, iii. p. 546. 


This story is disproved by an examination of dates, but, like a 
Scriptural parable, it remains to testify to the emotion of the old 
artists who flourished towards the close of the fifteenth century on 

seeing the works 
of the new gene- 

After finish- 
ing the decora- 
tions of the 
Camera di San 
Paolo, Correg- 
gio, as we have 
shown, probably 
returned to his 
native city, and 
spent the year 
15 19 there, com- 
ing back to Par- 
ma in 1520 to 
work in the 
church of San 
Giovanni Evan- 
gelista. Meyer 
supposes the 
painter to have 
done but little 
work at this 
period, his time being taken up by frequent journeys between Correggio 
and Parma.- But as a Hict, various documents show him to have been 

' Tlie rooms decorated by Correggio and Araldi, and others adjoining them, were 
handed over to the Accademia di Belle Arti by the municipaHty of Parma, November 
16, 1810. In 1834, a scheme for the isolation of these rooms from the body of the 
building was discussed. Eleven years later, when the new entrance and the west porch were 
finished, the red velvet hangings obtained from Marie Louise de Bourbon were placed 
on the walls. See the MS. minutes of the R. Accademia di Belle Arti, vol. ii. p. 105 ; 
iii. pp. 108 and 193. Documents in the archives of the Parma Gallery (M. i), under the 
heading Cam ere di San Paolo. ^ Correggio, p. 133. 

In the Cappella degKi En 


constantly in Correggio between January and October, 15 19, whereas 
no records exist of his presence in Parma. The communication made 
by the Abbe Mazza to Tiraboschi touching- a sum of money paid to 
Correggio by the Benedictines, omits all mention of the day or month, 
and as no entry of any such payment is to be found in the accounts 
of the monastery, there is reason to believe that the statement was 
based on a misconception.^ 

On the other hand, it seems certain that he was painting various 
small works during this interval. \^isari says that he executed 
pictures and other paintings for patrons in Lombardy, and Armenini 
declares that he himself saw several of these, which were " held in 
the highest honour " [onora/isshiii).'- 

It is not improbable, however, that works painted by his scholars 
and imitators were ascribed to this period. 

Even now, indeed, such a number of apocryphal works arc attri- 
buted to the master, and more especially to this particular stage of his 
career, that we might exhaust the patience of our readers, and increase 
our volume to an inordinate size by discussion and description of them 
in detail.'^ 

Turning over the minutes of the Accademia di belle Arti of Parma, 
we find entries referring to an almost incredible number of works offered 
to the gallery, and rejected as spurious. I myself have pictures sub- 
mitted to me almost daily as the work of Correggio. Productions of 
his scholars are confidently assigned to the master, to say nothing of 

1 As we shall see presently, the e.\penses connected with Correggio's paintings were 
entered by the monks in a book, from 1519 to 1528, which accounts, perhaps, for the 

- (i. B. Armenini, Dd vert prcidti dclla pittura, \^. iSS. Ra\enna, 15S7. 

3 Meyer {op. cit. p. 132 et seq.) includes in this category the picture of the Madonna 
and Child, with the patron saints of Parma and several angels, formerly belonging to the 
Duca Melzi, and now in the Casa Scotti at Milan, the authenticity of which was accepted 
by the Accademia of Parma and by Pungileoni (i. pp. 92-93 ; ii, p. 135). We may add 
that it is undoubtedly by Giorgio Gandino del Grano. The history of the Apollo and 
Marsyas in the Hermitage at St. Petersburg is given by Meyer, who quotes Miindler's 
ascription of the work to II Rosso Fiorentino. There was a time when Parmigianino's 
well-known Cupid forging the Bow (see Pungileoni, i. p. 114, and ii. p. 159) was ascribed 
to Correggio, and also the Procession to Calvary in the Parma Gallery, once attributed 
to M. A. Anselmi, but certainly neither by the latter nor his master. 



co^\e?,, pas/rcci, and even forgeries. Mengs describes how Sebastiano 
Ricci attempted to sell one of his own pictures as the work of 

These facile and confident attributions are by no means confined to 
private owners. Pictures in many public galleries are labelled with 
names to which they can lay no possible claim. 

We may now consider the works Antonio must have painted 
immediately after 151S. A small Jllarriagc of Si. Catherine, in which 
the kneeling saint, the palm in her right hand, and the sword 
beside her, receives the ring from the Infant on the Virgin's lap, has 
been reproduced in several copies or replicas. No very authoritative 
pronouncement has been made as to the authenticity of these various 
examples, but the majority of votes has been cast for the picture 
in the National Museum of Naples, that in Signer Paolo Fabrizi's 
collection at Rome, and Dr. Theodor Schall's example at Berlin.- 
Our own conclusion is directly opposed to that of INIeyer. The little 
picture at Naples strikes us as an obvious copy by one oi the 

AUegri's pure tints, his transparent carnations, his delicate shadows, 
are alike wanting in this work. The brushing is broad and almost 
coarse ; the colour is laid on with a heavy hand, and the drawing 
shows a want of refinement impossible to Correggio, even in his large 
pictures, or the colossal figures of his frescoes. Those who have 
carefully examined Annibale Carracci's smaller works, notably the 
picture numbered 1,007 ''^ '^^e Uffizi, will be easily convinced that 
the Marriage of Si. Caihcrinc at Naples is one of his numerous 
copies after Correggio. In the Im'eiitory of the Farnese collection 

' Opere, ii. \i. 171. Tiraboschi, p. 258. Five jiictures in the National Museum of 
Naples are described as by Correggio, the Zinga>-ci/a being the only authentic example 
(C. Ricci, Di alciini qiiadri di scuola parmigiana, etc., pp. 7-10). In the Uffizi, again, a 
decapitated head of John the Baptist is attributed to him, which is not even a work of the 
school of Parma, also a copy of one of the cherubs in the cathedral of Tarma. Another 
cherub, in the Pitti Gallery, is a copy from the Madonna wi/Ii .Sf. Scliastian at Dresden. 
We will spare the reader a further enumeration. 

- In the Royal Library at Turin there is a drawing of the Marriage of Sf. Catherine, 
which even Morelli ascribed to Correggio {Italian Painters, ii. p. 148). It has certain 
characteristics of the master, but these are discounted by many curious defects. 

Marriage of SL Catherine. 


at Parma, both an authentic example and a copy are mentioned, and 
the hitter is in all probability the picture now at Naples.^ 

The sentiment of the composition is altogether delightful in its 
naive simplicity. St. Catherine's gentle emotion is no less engaging 
than the ingenuous action of the Babe, who, holding her finger in his 
little hand, turns to his mother, as if demanding : " Is this the finger 
on which I am to put the ring ?" The Virgin smiles assent. In the 
arrangement of the figures, and the daring interlacement of the hands 
(the Virgin lays hers on those of the mystic bride and bridegroom), 
we trace the germ of the exquisite MaiTiaoc of SL Catherine in the 
Louvre, a work we judge from indications such as the types, the 
execution, the treatment of the hair, the folds of the draperies, the 
tapering fingers, and, above all, the glowing and transparent carnations, 
to have been painted after 1522, and certainly not between 15 17 and 
15 19, as Meyer and nearly all later biographers suppose.- 

The subject of the picture makes it convenient, however, to speak 
ot it here, introducing it with a quotation from Theophile Gautier's 
graceful description : " The Infant Jesus is seated on the lap of his 
mother, who helps him to place the ring on St. Catherine's finger. 
The action produces the most exquisite group of hands ever brought 
into the centre of a picture. They seem to be fashioned of lilies, so 
pure, delicate, and aristocratic are the taper fingers with their uplifted 
tips. The tender ecstasy of the saint, who takes the unconscious Babe 
for her spouse throughout all eternity, is admirably rendered. Behind 
St. Catherine stands a St. Sebastian of ideal beauty ; the arrows of his 
martyrdom, which he holds in his hand, give him the appearance of a 
Cupid. In the background are scenes from the martyrdom of the two 

1 There is another Marriage of St. Catherine, which has long been attributed to 
Correggio, in the Hermitage at St. Petersburg. It passed into the collection from the 
gallery of Count Briill, minister of Augustus III. of Poland. On the back of the picture 
is written, Laus Deo: per Domta Matilde d'Este Antonio Lieto da Correggio fece il presenie 
quadro per sua divozione, anno 15 17. The inscription is not genuine. No Matilda of 
Este flourished at the date mentioned. Even Mengs (ii. p. 170) and Tiraboschi 
(vi. p. 258) questioned its authenticity. Waagen pronounced unhesitatingly against Cor- 
reggio's authorship of the work, which is no longer ascribed to the master. (Meyer 
p. 106. Venturi, La Ji. Galleria estense, p. 322.) - Correggio, p. 322. 


saints ; but these episodes, the introduction of which was still sanctioned 
by custom, are slightly indicated, and of small dimensions. They are 
immersed in shadow, and so arranged as not to distract attention from 
the principal subject. . . Beneath the light amber veil which time has 
drawn over the picture, we discern the cool and silvery colour, the 

Signor Paolo Fabrizi, Ro 

azure reflections, the opalescent glint, as of mother-of-pearl, and the 
whole gamut of delicate gradations that lurks in the mysterious chiaros- 
curo." ' 

' Giihh' (h- VAiiiah-ur ail Afi/scc dii Louvre. Paris, 1S82. G. Lafenestre and E, 
Richtenbcrgcr, Lc Music National du Louvre, p. 45. Paris, 1893. 


Though the less fully developed types of the Saint Cat/icriiic are 
conclusive as to its priority, there are certain close affinities between 
this picture and the so-called Sain/ Jerome Madonna, of which we shall 
speak further on. These are most evident in the modelling of the 
Infant's little body, in the attentive expression of his face, and, above 

all, in the tones of the landscape, the small kneeling figures of which are 
almost identical in the two pictures. The widespread celebrity of the 
Saint Catherine dates from a very early period. Vasari relates how 
Girolamo da Carpi, when he went to Modena to see some of Correggio's 
works, " was not only filled with wonder as he looked at them, but 


perfectly stupefied by one in particular. This was a large picture, a 
most divine work, in which our Lady holds the Child, who espouses 
St. Catherine ; they are attended by St. Sebastian and others ; the 
heads are of such extraordinary beauty, that they seem to have been 
modelled in Paradise. It would be impossible to see a rendering of 
hair and hands more beautiful, or colour more delicate and natural. 
The owner of the picture, Messer Francesco Grillenzoni, who was 
one of Correggio's closest friends, gave Girolamo leave to copy it, and 
he reproduced it with a diligence that it could hardly be possible to 
surpass." ^ 

A legend afterwards grew up in connection with this picture. 

Tiraboschi- and some others believed, on the statement of Sandrart, 
that Correggio painted it for one Catherine, a compassionate woman, 
who had nursed him tenderly during a serious illness. The subject 
of the picture, or perhaps the name of the saint, suggested this 
touching story to Sandrart, or to those who communicated it to him. 
But as .St. Sebastian also figures in the composition, Ratti, anxious 
to complete the onomastic allusions of the picture, improved the legend 
by adding that this Catherine was the wife of a gentleman named 
Sebastian. He says nothing, however, of Allegri's illness, or the good 
offices of the lady, but declares the picture to have been given to the 
couple in recognition of their having procured him the order for 
the picture he painted for the Confraternity of St. Peter Martyr at 
Modena.^^ Pungileoni thought it incumbent on him to produce a new- 
version. Finding that Correggio had a sister Catherine, married to 
one Vincenzo Mariani, he concluded that the picture was a wedding 
gift to Caterina Allegri. It is a pity the husband was not called 
Sebastian ! Pungileoni was unable to give the date of this marriage, 
but he was wonderfully well informed as to the sentiments of all the 
persons concerned! "Antonio's grief at the loss of his sister," he 
writes, " may be conceived from the extreme sensibility of his dis- 
position. A heart like his must have longed to show its gratitude by 
the best means in his power, namely, in the painting of a picture which 
should speak to her continually of her absent brother. Those who 

1 /7/,-, vi. 1). 470. - Op. a/, vi. pp. 277-37S. '• Op. cit. p. 49. 


know a woman's heart, and more especially the heart of a woman 
sorrowing over her separation from her family, may imagine Caterina's 
delight in this memorial."^ But with all his eagerness to explain the 
workings of Correggio's mind to the world, the worthy Piingileoni was 
but ill-informed as compared with Bigi, who gives the whole history 
of the wedding in most moving detail, describing, iiitci- alia, the 
apparition of the maiden Correggio afterwards married, and the sudden 
passion he inspired at her first sight of him in the church.'- 

Even Bigi, however, was outdone by Madame Mignaty, who tells 
us that six other maidens, " bewitched by the same sweet enchantment, 
desired to take the veil ! " " 

This is no solitary instance of the absurd sentimentalities biographers 
have woven round the works of Correggio, but we take it as a typical 
illustration of such romances, of which there is no need to multiply 
examples. The true history of the picture has been gleaned from 
contemporary documents by Adolfo \'enturi : "It was painted for the 
Grillenzoni, a family of the first importance in RIodena during the 
sixteenth century, rich not only in material wealth, but in culture and 
honourable tradition. Giovanni Grillenzoni, brother of the Messer 
Francesco mentioned by Vasari, was one of the heads of the famous 
Accadeiiiia, the chief centre of the controversies set in motion by 
the reforming spirit of the age, and did much to diffuse the love of 
culture and of letters in Modena. He was known as an ardent lover 
of the arts, and Castelvetro dedicated a poem to him, entitled Pictura, 
in which he described the paintings he was anxious Grillenzoni should 
have executed for a room in his house, as a record of the rare and 
admirable harmony that obtained among the members of his large 
family. The picture remained in the possession of the Grillenzoni 
till 1582, in which year it was obtained for Caterina Nobili Sforza, 
Contessa di Santa Flora, by the intermediary of Cardinal Luigi d'Este. 
Bottari and Meyer both believed it to have belonged to the cardinal 
himself, but documents which have lately come to light prove that he 

^ Op. lit. i. p. 9S ; ii. jip. 136, 13S, and 141. Pungilconi also supposed \\\c Ziiii^ardla 
to be a jiortrait of Correggio's wife. 

- Delia vita e ddle operc, etc., p. 15. " Op. at. pp. 294-295. 



merely negotiated the transfer with the Grillenzoni on behalf of Pope 
Julius III.'s great-niece, in whose possession Coradusz, the Emperor 
Rudolph II. 's Chancellor, saw it in 1595.^ After passing through a 
variety of hands, it appeared in Cardinal Antonio Barberini's collection 
in 1650, and was presented by him to Cardinal Mazarin,- from whose 
heirs it was acquired for Louis XIV.'s museum. 

We will now return to the three pictures we believe to have 
preceded the JMarriage of St. Catherine. These are the Madonna 

suckling the Child, known as the 
Jlladonna del Latte, the Virgin 
and Child ivith the Basket, known 
as the RIadonna delta Ccsta, and 
the Virgin adoring the Infant 

Great uncertainty prevails as 
to the first of these, owing to the 
many old copies that e.\:ist, and 
the contradictory statements of 
different writers. 

The Virgin, smiling placidly, 
offers her left breast to the In- 

l[i the Royal Library, Turin. 

fant Jesus ; he, however, laying 
one little hand on her shoulder, turns away to take the fruit offered 
him by a winged angel, in the version at Budapest, by the little 
St. John, in the example at the Hermitage. Domenico Ottonelli 
described a similar picture in 1652, in his Trattato delta pittura^ 
but it has not been possible to trace its subsequent history, and we 
have therefore no means of identifying it with any of the existing ex- 
amples. When Ottonelli saw it, it was in the possession of a certain 
Gottifredo Periberti, having previously passed through the hands of 

' It pittor dcllc grasic, quoted above. Venturi has treated tliis picture most exhaustively 
in his study, Un quadro del Correggio (Modenn, 18S2), reprinted in the periodical, Arte e 
Storia, year iii. no. 3. Florence, 1894. - Mengs, Opere, ii. p. 150. 

'^ Odomenigico Lelonotti (an anagram of his name), Trattato delta pittura e sciiltura 
uso e abuso loro, composto da un teotogo e da un pit tore, p. 155. Florence, 1652. 
Pungileoni, ii. p. 128. 


the Aklobrandini family, of the Princess Rossano, one of their heirs, 
and of Cardinal di San Giorgio. Padre Resta, in his Indicc del 
Parnaso dci pittori} boasting of having once owned the original 
drawing, says that the picture, formerly in the possession of Muzio 
Orsini, had been acquired by the Marchese del Carpio, and that there 
was also a replica in "an ancient Roman house." His statement as 
to the Marchese 
del Carpio's pos- 
session of such a 
picture is borne 
out by an engrav- 
ing by Teresa del 
Po.- No authen- 
tic information has 
come down to us 
as to the fate of 
the replica, unless 
indeed it is to be 
identified with the 
picture Miindler 
saw in Rome in 
1844 in the pos- 
session of a cer- 
tain Count Cabral, 
who dealt in pic- 
tures with the 
help of Prince 

Torlonia.« As we p, th. s.:haii. Bcrii,,. 

are an.xious not to 

increase the confusion that already prevails, we will only add that the 
two most famous examples which lay claim to authenticity are the 

^ P. 63. Perugia, 1787. 

- Pungileoni, ii. p. 128. It is said to have passed into Spain and afterwards to 

■■ Meyer, pp. 142 et seq. and 329 (t seq. 

A A 


version on panel in the Hermitage at St. Petersburg,' and that on 
canvas in the Esterhazy collection, now in the Public Gallery at Buda- 
pest.- The former, according to Nagler, belonged to a King of Spain, 
whose name he omits to mention. The king presented it to his con- 
fessor, who in his turn handed it on to the Jesuits. It came to Rome 
through the medium of its new owners, and was bought by one Cava- 
ceppi (here we enter into the domain of fact), who sold it again to the 
painter Giovanni Casanova, brother to the famous adventurer, for a 
verv small price, the picture being in a terribly dirty state, covered 
with dust and varnish. Casanova cleaned it skilfully, and exhibited 
it as a discovery. The matter attracted a good deal of attention in 
the art-world. Mengs mentioned it, among others,' and Winckelmann, 
who wrote thus in his journal of July i6, 1764 : "Casanova has dis- 
covered a picture by Correggio at Rome, which no one had recognised, 
as it was covered with dirt. He bought it and cleaned it, thus becoming 
the owner of one of the most beautiful pictures in the world. He goes 
to Dresden next month." ^ This, in fact, he did, having been ap- 
pointed Director of the Academy of Fine Arts. Nagler further says 
that Mengs bought the picture from him for Catherine II. of Russia. 

Meyer considered the whole of this story apocryphal, especially as 
Mengs was no longer in Dresden after 1760; he admits, of course, 
that the bargain might have been concluded by letter or by the inter- 
mediary of other persons, but thinks it more likely, on the whole, that 
the picture discovered by Casanova was the example now in the Buda- 
pest Gallery, as the presence of the angel in the place of the little St. 
John seems to indicate. In which case, the history formerly ascribed 
to the Budapest picture would really be that of the St. Petersburg 
example, and it would be the latter which passed to the Duca Crivclli 
with other property inherited from his uncle, the cardinal, who had 
received it as a gift from Charles I\'. of Spain. Waagen, indeed, 
asserts that the St. Petersburg pictm-e came from Charles IV.'s 
collection. It is impossible, however, to come to any very decided 

1 Waagen, Die Gemaldc-Sammliiii:- in da- Ennita;^c zii St. rckrshiiri;. i\[unicli, 1864. 

- Karoly Pulszky, A Kcps:yiijtcmi-ny /•■iiv lajstroma, ]). 7. Budaiiest, 188S. 

^ Opere, ii. p. 176. 

■' Fii;iiriiii: Casancviane. Niiova Rassegna, year i. no. 7. Rome. 


conclusion In the matter, owing to the peregrinations of both these 
pictures, the absence of any authentic records of their history, and, 
above all, to the multiplication of copies, the existence of which is 
attested by a large number of engravings, many of them showing 
considerable variations. In the matter of their authenticity opinions 
are pretty equally divided. We have seen that at Budapest twice. 
It has suffered a little, but we are certainly inclined to ascribe it to 
the master, relying on such evidences as the fine drawing, the delicate 
-diffusion of the light, the soft blending of light and shadow, the facial 
types, and the calm, yet joyful, sentiment that pervades the com- 
position. On the other hand, we have not found the study of a large 
and magnificent photograph by Braun of the St. Petersburg picture 
altogether convincing. In the nude contours of the Infant Jesus there 
is a somewhat painful contortion of lines ; his left foot is preternaturally 
small, and the chiaroscuro of the legs is very laboured. The type of 
the Madonna is not altogether Correggesque ; her nose is too broad 
above, at the junction of the eyebrows, and the nostril is too much 
arched. Her smile is almost a grimace. Not having seen the 
original, we refrain from any decisive pronouncement on the merits 
of this picture, and will be content to say that Meyer did not venture 
to vouch for its authenticity. 

A fact hitherto unnoticed must, however, be admitted to have an 
important bearing on the case. The pen sketch in which Correggio 
jotted down his first thought for this picture is still in existence, and 
here the little figure offering the fruit Is not the infant St. John, as In 
the picture at the Hermitage, but a winged angel, as in the canvas at 

This precious drawing, the property of the Vienna Museum, is on 
a sheet covered with a variety of figures, all rapidly and freely 
sketched, and raises another interesting point. Besides a number of 
groups which the painter either never used, or used in ])ictures now 
lost, the sheet contains the germ of the St. Joseph at work In the 
little picture of the Uladoiiua dclla Ccsta. The sketch confirms, to a 
certain extent, the almost unanimous opinion of critics that this was 
painted at about the same date as the Madonna del Laitc. If we take 

A A 2 


the Budapest example for purposes of comparison, we shall find that 
here and in the National Gallery picture the types of Virgin and 
Child, the play of the drapery, which begins to be treated more 
squarely, the gradations of tone, and the management of the light, are 
practically identical. The master's pictorial faculty displays itself most 
characteristically in the very individual sentiment, design, and colour. 


.he Vi^iili^ Mu.euiu. 

The Madonna, seated with her Child upon her lap, and St. Joseph, 
planing a piece of wood, appear in a beautiful setting of trees and 
anticjue ruins. The Virgin, whose work-basket and other feminine 
implements lie at her feet, endeavours to draw on the Infant's little 
dress. She has put one arm through a sleeve, but the Child struggles 
vigorously under the maternal hands, disarranging his shirt. Mary 
smiles softly, as if admonishing the IJabe with a gentle " My son, let 
me dress thee ! " 

Madonna delLi Cesta. 


This little gem of extraordinary tenderness, as INIengs calls it,' 
this incomparable marvel of light, of vivacity, of smiling sweetness, 
to quote r>izzoni,- was given by Charles IV. of Spain to his 
master, Don Emanuele Goday, at whose instance it was subjected 
to a most rigorous cleaning. During the French invasion of 
Spain it passed to the English painter Wallace, who vainly attempted 
to sell it in 1S13 for ;^i,:ioo. It figured, nevertheless, in the La- 
peyriere collection in April, iS25,when this was put up for sale, and 
was bought by the elder Nieu- 
wenhuys, who immediately after- 
wards sold it to the National 
Gallery of London. Such is 
Meyer's account of the picture.'' 
Sir Frederick Burton gives its 
history with certain variations 
and greater simplicity in his 
catalogue of the gallery, saying 
that it was brought to Eng- 
land by Mr. Buchanan in 1S13, 
and bought for the National 
Gallery by C. F. Nieuwenhuys 
in 1S25.1 

This, according to some 
writers, is the picture which 
Vasari describes as in the pos- Fro,., u.e Engravhis. 

session of the Cavaliere Baiardi 

of Parma — "a marvellous and beautiful work by Correggio, in which 
our Lady puts a little shirt on the Infant Christ." ^ Others, however, 
suppose this to allude to the little picture of which the Abbe Carlo 
Bianconi, secretary to the Academy of Fine Arts at Milan, declared 
he possessed a sketch on paper, which he asserted had once formed 

^ Opere, ii. jx 177. Punyilconi, i. p. 1 1 1. 
^ Arte italiana Jcl Rinascimento, pp. 356-357. 
3 Correggio, pp. 138 and 326. 

* Descriptive and liistoriail Catalogue of the Pieti/res in tlie National Gallery, p. 6. 
London, 1892. '' ?'//.•, vi. [). 477. 


part of the Estense Gallery.^ There are copies and engravings of 
such a picture, but the original is missing. It represented the 
Madonna seated on the ground, in the act of drawing on the little 
shirt, and St. Joseph offering cherries to the Child. The types and 
composition are very Correggesque, as far as we can judge by the 
engravings, but it is impossible to give a decisive opinion on such 

In curious contrast to the facility with which the most unlikely 

works have been as- 
signed to the master, 
the authenticity of cer- 
tain pictures unques- 
tionably by his hand 
has been repeatedly 
attacked and called in 
cjuestion. The most 
hotly contested of these 
examples at one time 
was the J^irgin cu/cw- 
iiig I he III fa lit Christ, 
which was given by 
the Duke of Modena 
to Cosimo II. de' 
In the louvr. Medici, and has been 

in the Uftizi since 
1617.- Mengs, probably without any such intention, seems to 
have prepared the way for later assailants by pointing out what he 
considered a deficiency of the power usual in Correggio's works, 
and a carelessness in the composition, and in the treatment of the 
draperies.^ Meyer, in his turn, admitted a certain meticulous and 
artificial quality in the execution, and an excessive softness in the 
colour, Ijut recognised the master's hand, notably in the lively action. 

' I'iraboschi, vi. pp. 285-2S6. Pungileoni, ii. p. 155. M. A. Oualandi, JA-wc/vV w^v'wf?// 
italiane, series ii. \i. 171. 

2 Vasari, Vile, iv. p. 18, n. i. ■'' O/^eie, ii. j). 173. 

The Adoration of the Virgin. 

illi; MADONNA 1)I:LI.A CI-.STA 183 

The Virgin, kneeling on ;i step, raises her hands witli a gesture of 
adoration over the Babe, who hes before her on a linen cloth 
laid over a bundle of straw. The light is concentrated chielly on the 
radiant little liody of the naked Child, and the head and hands of 
the Madonna, but there is a want of fusion and equality in the 
gradations of her head. The folds of the draperies are broadly treated, 
but betray a certain amount of effort, and the chord of colour struck by 
the red robe, the blue mantle, and its pale green lining, docs not vibrate 
in perfect harmony. The colour, indeed, is the weak point in this 
picture, but, on the other hand, the composition and action are al- 
together delightful ! The Babe (a masterly essay in foreshortening) 
reveals his instinctive emotion in the agitated gesture of the little 
arm he stretches out to his mother, while she, hanging over him, 
unclasps her exquisitely rendered hands, which seem to exclaim 
even more eloquently than her face : " Is there anything in all the 
world so beautiful ? " 

The background, though a little chilly as opposed to the warm 
tones of the Virgin's figure, is very original in conception. The scene 
is laid in a ruined temple, with a large column to the left, at the base 
of which a heap of wood is piled. To the right are the crumbling 
remains of a flight of steps, between the shattered stones of which 
grasses and plants have sprung up. Beyond stretches a vaporous 
background of hills, and trees, among them the flexible stem of a tall 
palm that swa\'s in the wind. Although the tone of the picture has 
lowered a good deal in parts, destroying the general harmony to a 
great extent, it must be admitted that it was one of the master's least 
pleasing essays in colour from the beginning. He seems to have 
aimed at rendering a certain eftect of morning light which he failed to 
carry out altogether successfully. 

But, as Horace reminds us: " Ouandoque bonus dormitat 

, di San Paolo at Parma, 






OU R painter returned to 
Parma in the spring of 
1520. It is very prob- 
able that, knowing he would 
have to spend a considerable 
time in the city, working for the 
Benedictines, and missing the 
pleasant intercourse of his home 
and family, he pressed on the 
marriage already arranged. His 
wife was one Girolama Merlini, 
born early in 1503, and conse- 
quently, a girl of barely seven- 
teen when she married Correggio. 


She was the daughter of Bartolomeo Merlnii dc Bragliclis, who 
died seven months after her birth, and of Antonia Bellesia, a member 
of a weahhy country family. Pungileoni was much exercised by 
the fact that in June, 15 18, she made a will, leaving her pro- 
perty to her uncle and aunt, Giovanni and Lucia Merlini.^ The 
natural inference seems to be that she was in delicate health, an 
assumption which is further supported by her early death in 1529, 
Nothing is known of her beyond these meagre details. We may 
therefore pass over the romantic flights of those who have expatiated 
on the beauty of her person and the goodness of her heart. The 
attractive type of the Madonnas painted by Correggio after 15 18 is 
the sole indication we possess that love had influenced the painter's 
choice on the one hand, and inspired the ideal sweetness of the face he 
immortalised on the other.- 

Why Pungileoni's assertion that the marriage took place in 1520 
has been disputed we cannot understand. It is known that on July 
26, 1 52 1, Correggio received the dowry of 251 ducats assigned to 
Girolama, already his icifc. A more conclusive evidence still (unless 
we make the perfectly groundless assumption that there had been some 
misconduct before the marriage, or that the first child was born 
prematurely) is to be found in the birth -certificate of Correggio's eldest 
son, Pomponio, who was born September 3, 1521. The parents must 
therefore have married before the end of 1520. 

Besides this son, of whom we shall have more to say later, 
Correggio's wife bore him three daughters : Francesca Letizia, born 
December 6, 1524 ; Caterina Lucrezia, born September 24, 1526 ; and 
Anna Geria, born rather more than a year afterwards.'' The two 
latter died in infancy ; the first became the wife of Pompeo Brunorio, 
and lived to a fairly advanced age. 

1 Pungileoni, i. p. 105 ; ii. pp. 150-15 1. Magnanini, pp. 58 and 61. The brothers, 
Bartolomeo and Giovanni Merlini, married two sisters, Antonia and Lucia Bellesia. 

2 The following note occurs in the Inventory of the Farnese collection, compiled 
about 1680 : "A woman seated on a Roman chair, in a white dress, with a black over- 
dress, and yellow and black sleeves ; she rests her right hand on the arm of the chair, 
and holds a book in her left. Said to be a portrait of Correggio's wife, by himself." 
The statement is quite without foundation. V. G. Campori, Cataloghi ed invcntnri, p. 297. 

* Register of the Baptistery at I'arma. 

13 B 


A clerical error made by the priest who on October 5, 1527, 
registered the advent of Anna Geria, born two days before, gave rise 
to the mistaken idea that Correggio had by this time lost his first wife 
and taken a second. Inscribing the name of the mother, the priest 
wrote Jacobina instead of Girolama. On this Mengs,^ and his ob- 
sequious follower. Carlo Giuseppe Ratti," founded the theory of a 
second marriage. Ratti, indeed, improved on the original statement. 
He says that the painter, "having lost his first wife, took a second, 
seduced by her beauty, which he afterwards learnt to loathe." If we 
also accept the statements of Father Maurizio Zappata, who created a 
Girolama, daughter of Pier Ilario Mazzola, to marry her to Correggio,^ 
our painter figures almost as a rival of Mahomet II. All these fables 
were discredited by the discovery of a document dated March 20, 
1 5 28, in which Girolama Merlini is mentioned as still living. The 
document is a deed empowering the painter's father, Pellegrino Allegri, 
to administer the goods of his son and his daughter-in-law ■* during 
their absence from Correggio. 

Externally, the church and monastery of San Giovanni Evangelista 
are far from imposing. The fagade of the church, which was finished in 
the early years of the seventeenth century, is unpleasing. The side 
of the convent, which adjoins it, is covered with baroque ornament, and 
has a heavy, loaded appearance ; the other walls are bare and squalid. 
But, like a shell of mother-of-pearl just drawn from the sea, this coarse 
and heavy exterior hides a miracle of line and colour. Within the 
monastery, cloisters and rooms are covered with a rich emliroidery 
of painted and sculptured decoration. The aisles of the church soar 
into space from pillars, the fluted columns of which terminate below in 
carved and painted inscriptions ; the capitals seem to unfold their 
calices like flowers, in clusters of rich and graceful foliation ; the choir- 
stalls are magnificently carved and inlaid ; the ribbing of the vaults, the 
friezes, the chapels, the altars, the cupolas, the tribune, all gleam with 
gilded and painted reliefs. Not a corner has escaped the decorative 

1 Opere, ii. p. 137. - Op. at. p. 7j8. 

■' See Tiraboschi, vi. p. 242. runi,'ileoni, ii. p. S. 
■' Tiraboschi, vi. p. 242. I'lingilconi, i. p. 200 ct scq. 


ardour of those who planned and those who carried out the work ; 
a glorious band of artists laboured here for half a century to satisfy the 
devout ambition of the Benedictines. 

It appears from documents in the monastic archives which lie 
before us, that the brethren gave themselves up with almost feverish 
energy to the reconstruction and embellishment of their buildings 
during the last twenty years of the fifteenth century. They were 
evidently bent on making their monastery equal to the most magni- 
ficent of such structures. Artists from Como, Reggio, and Pontremoli 
worked under their direction, while Antonio d' Agrate wove a network 
of pillars in the cloisters, and covered doors and windows with sculp- 
tured ornament. Meanwhile Guglielmo of Tolosa cast new bells. 
Master Damiano carved chests to contain " the vestments of cloth of 
gold," Damiano da Moile illuminated and bound the beautiful choir- 
books, Antonio and Gian Giacomo da Berceto embroidered copes and 
chasubles, Jacopo Loschi painted banners, and Master Alessio a variety 
of altar-pieces. 

All this activity increased rather than diminished with the dawH of 
the new century. One Giovanni, a potter, modelled the terra-cotta 
cornice ; Master Guglielmo, a German, painted the glass for the 
windows ; Cesare da Reggio decorated the vault of the sacristy. 
Meanwhile the plans for enlarging the church were drawn out. Before 
this undertaking had been entrusted to him (15 10), Master Bernardino 
da Torchiara had proved himself an architect of parts in other works 
of importance. Scarcely had he and Pietro Cavazzolo begun their 
task when some of the leading families of the city offered contributions, 
or bought chapels as yet unfinished. The work went on apace. 
Antonio d' Agrate continued to carve the more delicate ornament 
himself, at the same time directing a troop of craftsmen, whose noisy 
hammers scaled and chipped the rough stone into the form of huge 
columns, cornices, pilasters, and altars within the church, and well- 
heads and fountains in the cloisters. 

The intense an.\iety of the Ijcnedictines to see the work completed 
showed itself in the rapidity with which the various operations were 
carried out. While as yet the interior of the church was a perfect 


forest of beams, scaffoldings, and cords, the decorators began their 
work. Cesare da Reggio commenced, perhaps, on the frieze of the 
transept, Pietro Ilario and Michele Mazzola frescoed the chapel of the 
Zangrandi with compositions which have now disappeared, and finally 
Marc' Antonio Zucchi, "master of perspective," carved and inlaid the 
choir stalls.^ 

The monastery has been turned into a barrack, and presents 
a melancholy spectacle ! Rain, hail, and wind have worked their will 

on the phantom remnants of painting and sculpture, hardly sparing 
even the marble reliefs of the door and windows of the chapter-house, 
carved with all the delicacy of antique cameos. The crumbling well 
is overgrown with moss ; a feeble thread of water trickles from the 

' We have carefully e.xamined the books and papers of the archives of San Giovanni 
Evangelista, now in the Palatine Library at Parma. Many of the artists mentioned in 
these arc also spoken of in Angelo Pezzana's Storia di Farma. Parma, 1837-1839. 



fountain ; the ruined arches are propped here and there with rough 
wooden piles. The harsh sound of the bugle, and the loud voices 
of soldiers ring through the vaulted cloisters which once echoed 
to the chant of orisons, and the swell of an organ touched by 
Polidoro or Domenico della Musa. The frescoes of the corridors, 
cells, and great halls are hidden under a lavish coat of whitewash, 
and the elegant librarj^ decorated with grotesques by Ercole Pio and 
Antonio Paganino vainly waits to be delivered from the vile uses of a 
magazine, and restored to its ancient dignity. 

The church has fortunately suffered less severely. Time has 
dimmed the lustre of 
the gilded ornaments 
and paintings ; the 
chapel altars have been 
despoiled of many 
famous works by Cor- 
reggio and Francia, 
but the structure has 
been well preserved by 
the care of the muni- 
cipality, the govern- 
ment, and those who 
worship within its walls, 
and still arouses the 

In the Vienna Museum. 

wonder and admira- 
tion of visitors who come to see its frescoes by Allegri, Parmigianino, 
and Rondani, its pictures by Temperclli, Anselmi, and Girolamo 
Mazzola-Bedoli, and its precious terra-cottas by Antonio Begarelli, 
formerly in the monastery. 

The building operations were finished in 15 19, and Bernardino da 
Torchiara then proceeded to plaster the walls of the nave and the 

When did Correggio begin to work in the church ? It appears 
from the account-books of the monastery still extant, that no payments 
were made to him before July 6, 1520. On this date thirty gold 


ducats were handed over to him, " being the first payment for the 
painting of the cupola." ^ The monl<s had agreed to give him by 
instalments a sum amounting altogether to a hundred and thirty gold 
ducats, the price for which he had stipulated. 

The details of further work are indicated in subsequent entries. 
We find from these that the artist engaged to decorate the tribune of 
the apse for sixty-five ducats ; to gild the frieze and cornices, or cause 
them to be gilded, for five ducats ; - to ornament the pillars sup- 
porting the cupola, and the candelabra beneath, for six ducats ; finally, 
to paint the frieze running round the body of the cJuircIi {i.e., the 
nave, with the pillars, the archivolts, and a// other spaces) for sixty-six 
ducats, as agreed with Father Basilio on the Feast of All Saints, 
1522. The total expense incurred by the Benedictines for the frescoes 
amounted, therefore, to two hundred and sixty-two ducats. 

In the account of payments made from time to time, which appears 
on the opposite page, we find that Correggio received six ducats, in 
April, 152 I, together with a colt worth eight ducats. Other disburse- 
ments follow in 1522, between April 18 and May 19, and between 
May 28 and July 28. In 1523 he obtained further payments on 
January 20, March 13, and June 8. Finally, in 1524, he was paid 
twenty-five ducats on January 4, and the last twenty-seven a few 
days after, upon which he gave a formal receipt for all sums due 
to him, as follows : " I, Antonio Lieto of Correggio, painter, have, on 
this 23rd day of January, 1524, received from Don Giovanni Maria of 
Parma, monk and cellarer of the monastery of San Giovanni Evangelista 
of Parma, twenty-seven gold ducats, on behalf of the said monastery, 
and am hereby fully paid and recompensed for my paintings in the said 
church, and I therefore declare myself to be contented and satisfied 
and paid in full, in the presence of Don Onofrio, monk in the said 

1 Archives of Giovanni Evangelista at P.irma, preserved in the Palatine Library. 
]jOok 306, from the year 1519 to 1528; fols. 85 and SC. See also fol. 1S9 of 
book 313. 

" Pungileoni (ii. \)\i. 173-174), Meyer (p. 460), and others read the words in the 
document from which we (juote cupola graphic, instead of capcla graride. The error is a 
serious one, tending, as it does, to the confusion of the apse with the cupola. The latter 
is called the aiba in the document 


monastery, in token of which I have written the above with my own 
hand." 1 

Among all the works described we find no mention of the lunette 
with St. John writing the Apocalypse, nor of the two canvases of the 
Descent from tlie Cross, and the RIartyrdoin of St. Plaeidns, to which 
we shall return presently, nor of certain vanished frescoes attributed to 
the painter by various writers. 

Pungileoni,- relying on the assertion of Father Mazza (derived in 
the first instance from Tiraboschi/^ and unsupported by any docu- 
mentary evidence) believed Correggio to have worked in the monastery 
in 1519, and accepted the opinion of Casapini, who attributed to 
him the fresco of the small dome in the dormitory, representing the 
apotheosis of St. Benedict. There was somewhat more plausibility 
in the ascription to the master of a decoration of children and foliage 
painted in a niche near the garden of the novices, which Meyer 
thought might be the work of some scholar of Correggio's.'' The 
genii in monochrome on the sofiit of the arch are certainly not by 
the master. They are ill-drawn, and awkwardly posed ; but it is not 
so certain that he did not paint those in the interior of the niche, 
who are frolicking in a INIantegnesque trellis-work of foliage. The 
foreshortenings are bold and confident, the little bodies plump and 
sturdy, the eyes sparkle, the faces beam with smiles. The head of the 
baby who looks up to the right is very Correggesque. The fresco 
has been cruelly re-touched, and is now so begrimed with dirt that it 
would have to be cleaned before it would be possible to give a decisive 
opinion as to its authorship. 

Father Baistrocchi relates that while Allegri was painting at Parma, 
he and his pupil Rondani were summoned to the wealthy abbey oi 
Torchiara, for which ?slarc' Antonio Zucchi also made some valuable 
furniture, now preserved in the Museum of Antiquities. He supports 

1 The book containing this receipt, and other references to Correggio's work, has 
disappeared. Fortunately, however, Pungileoni transcribed the more important items. 
(Pungileoni, ii. pp. 170, 171.) 

" Op. cit. i. p. go ; ii. p. 126. •' Op. cit. vi. p. 259. 

^ Meyer, pp. 129 and 130. Ratti's statement that Correggio was at Parma as a lad, 
living quasi domestico with the Benedictines, is purely a fable. (Pungileoni, ii. p. 130.) 



his statement as follows : " In one of the rooms of the abbey, that 
nearest to the door opening on to the cloister, there is a frieze, very 
pleasingly decorated, with children leading a goat to the sacrifice ; one 
holds a swallow in his hand."^ This frieze, which has now disappeared, 
was afterwards attributed to Rondani,^ and it is not improbable that 
Correggio's share in it was limited to 
preparing the design and giving some 
few suggestions to his disciple. 

The frescoes in San Giovanni Evan- 
gelista were not executed with that de- 
spatch and continuity both monks and 
painter had hoped for. The work was 
hindered by various domestic troubles 
which harassed the artist, and was 
further interrupted by the grave politi- 
cal disasters, which burst on Parma with 
all the devastating violence of a hurri- 

When, after the famous battle of 
Sc[jtember 13, 1515, Francis I. annexed 
the duchy of Milan, Parma and Pia- 
cenza also fell into his hands. Leo X. 
feigned submission at first, but in his 
' ' ' ViV llisVa"^ vrrvrMi'' ' hcart he was by no means reconciled 

to the loss of these two important 
cities. In 152 1 he entered into a league with Charles V., the 
Florentines, and the Duke of Mantua, on the understanding that he 
was to be allowed to seize the two cities, and take Ferrara from the 
Estensi. These compacts and intrigues were not so discreetly carried 
through, but that Lautrec, the P>cnch King's Governor-General in 
Lombardy, got wind of them. He at once increased the garrison of 
Parma, and occupied Busseto and Cristoforo Pallavicino's territory. 

1 Noti'^ic dei piftori, &c. MS. no. 1106 in the Miscellanea in the Talatinc Libr.iry at 
Parma. Sec the biographies of Corrcggio and of Rondani. 
- I'ungileoni, i. p. 91 ; ii. pp. 130, 131. 


Prospero Coloiina, the Condotticrc of the allies, promptly advanced 
upon Parma. Towards the end of July he was encamped by the 
bridge over the Enza. But the French were too much on the alert 
for him to attempt any decisive attack. They strengthened their 
position by receiving Federigo Gonzaga, Lord of Bozzolo, into the 
city, with five thousand Italian foot-soldiers, and Tommaso P'ois, Lord 
of Lescruns, with four hundred lances. Baffled in their attempt upon 
Parma, the confederates withdrew the bulk of their forces upon Milan. 
Cremona then revolted in her turn against the French dominion, 
compelling all the royalists to hasten thither from Parma. .Scarcely 
had they left the city, when Vitello 
Vitelli, with a small body of pontif- 
ical troops, came by on his way 
from Modena to Piacenza. The 
citizens hailed him as a heaven- 
sent liberator, destined to free 
them from the French tyranny, 
and called upon him to enter their 
town. Thus did Parma return to 
the Papal See. Francesco Guicci- 
ardini was appointed governor for 
the Pope, and sent to receive the 
oath of allegiance on Leo's behalf. 

But the troubles were not yet 

over. Federigo Gonzaga, finding 

the way closed against his contemplated return, made up his mind to 

a bold stroke. He appeared suddenly before the walls of Parma on 

December 20, and began to bombard the city. The Parmese 

were filled with dismay ; but for the courageous exhortations of the 

governor, they would, no doubt, have surrendered. ^ But the memory 

of past misery, and the example of the little garrison, who met the 

1 Fr. Guicciardini, Storia d' Italia, book xiv. chapters ii.-iv. Buenaventura Angeli, 
Storia di Parma, book v. pp. 482-510. Parma 1591. L. A. Muratori, Annali d' Italia 
a/ 1 52 1. Amadio Ronchini, la Stcccata di Parma, and Diploma di Cittadiimnza a 
danno dei defensori di Parma nd 1521. {Atti e monoric deila R. Deputazione di sioria 
patria per le provincie parmcmi, i. pji. 175-179 ; viii. p. 405 ei scqi) 


assault with the utmost steadiness, inspired them with confidence, and 
courage followed in its wake. The nobles, the populace, the clergy, 
the very women flocked to the walls, and fought with such determined 
heroism that Federigo, beaten back, and dismayed at the havoc 
wrought among his followers, fled from the field. 

Correggio was not in Parma while these events were taking place. 
Those who have supposed him to have returned to his native place 
" to escape the tumult and discomforts of the siege " not only say what 
is false, but dishonour his memory. Correggio did not flee. A 
comparison of dates proves that he was in his native place at the 
outbreak of the war, where he naturally remained until its conclusion. 

In April, 1521, he received certain sums of money and a colt from 
the Benedictines, as we have seen. In the middle of May, the diploma 
of affiliation to, and spiritual communion with the brotherhood, as 
a lay member was conferred upon him. In the so-called gracioics 
letter, he is called coirj^io z'/ro iiiaiiis/iv Antonio Lacto dc Corigia} 
In July, before Prospero Colonna had appeared upon the banks of the 
Enza, he had returned to his native city, where, as we know, his 
wife's dowry was formally handed over to liim on the 26th day of the 
month. His son Pomponio was born there on September 3, and 
there, on September 18, he released F"rancesco degli Affarosi from 
his duties as his representative in the action he had brought against 
Romanello degli Aromani, who disputed his succession to the property 
left him by his maternal uncle ; on November 8 he was one of the 
witnesses to a deed drawn up by the notary Nicolu Mazzucchl ; and 
finally, on December 10, he was there confirmed in the possession 
of his uncle's property by sentence of Sigismondo Augustoni, judge of 
Correggio, a sentence which was set aside by the other judge, 
Ascanio Merli, who dismissed the suit, and condemned Allegri 
in costs. - 

Towards the end of the year, peace reigned once more in Parma, 
but we do not find that Allegri returned at once to the city. It is, 

^ 'I'irabosclii, vi. p. 263. 

- Pungilconi, i. p. 128 ; ii. pi). 150 and 167 ; iii. !>. 60. Notes in tlie Antonioli M.S.S. 
in the archives of Correggio. 


indeed, by no means probable that he would have gone on with his 
paintings throughout the winter in a dark church like that of San 
Giovanni, -where cold and damp would have proved serious obstacles 
to the painter of frescoes. We have seen that the payments made by 
the Benedictines began again on April 18, 1522, and continued all the 
summer. This year was one of great activity for Correggio. In the 
autumn he received two important commissions, of which we shall speak 
more fully in a later chapter. These were the Nativity [La A'ottc), 
which took him to Reggio on October 14, and the frescoes of Parma 
Cathedral, formally 
entrusted to him on 
November 2. It is 
evident that the work 
already executed for 
the Benedictines had 
excited the liveliest 
applause and expec- 
tation. Family affairs 
called him back to 
Correggio early in 
1523. On January 

26, he was present door and windows in the CHAPTER-HOISE of SAN GIOVANNI EVANGELISTA, 

at the drawing up of 

the deed, by which certain properties were divided between his wife 
and her uncle, Giovanni Merlini.^ He then returned to the tranquil 
activity of his life at Parma, where he seems to have worked 
uninterruptedly until 1525. 

In the communal archives at Noveilara there is a letter addressed 
to Count Alessandro Gonzaga, the writer of which begs for the loan 
of a horse, promising to return it promptly. The letter is dated 
"Correggio, March 15, 1524," and signed by a certain Antonio da 
Correggio. It has hitherto been accepted without question as the 
painter's autograph, and figured as such at the Correggio Exhibition 
held at Parma in 1894. We have carefully compared the letter with 

^ Tiraboschi, vi. p. 239. Pungikoni, i. p. iSO. Magnanini, pp. ico and iiS. 


two authentic autographs, and have come to the conclusion that it 
was not written by Allegri, but by some namesake of his. We have 
already pointed out the probability of a like error in connection with a 
document referring to a certain Antonio da Coi'irggio who was at 
Carpi in 15 12. It should be borne in mind that in neither case 
can the Antonio in question be identified with Antonio Bernieri, the 
Correggese miniature painter, who was only eight years old in 1524.' 
The fact that the similarity of names nevertheless caused him to 


.-/fl'r'^^^t^*-'^- /«- >r^yy^'}hr^nj'r ^i-i ft^nkc fi^rji* 

( hi.-nri'yr.o S^. ^^r-'W a-y^d^ 

be confused with our painter at a later date, shows how easily such a 
mistake may have arisen in the case of some other Antonio of the 
same city. Who the person was who borrowed the horse from 
Gonzaga of Novellara is of very little moment. It is enough for us to 
know that it was not Correggio. W'e have now fixed the dates of 
Allegri's labours at this period, and may pass on to a consideration of 
the works themselves. 

' Tiraboschi, vi. pp. 301, 302, and 327. Pungilconi, i. p. 271 ; ii. pp. 246, 26S, and 
271. Higi, Notizie di A. .4., &c., pp. 71-7S. 


Dante, describing the giants of the ninth circle, the upper part of 
their bodies rising above the brink of the abyss, compares them to the 
towers flanking the enceinte of the ancient Sienese fortress, IMonte- 
reggione. The divine poet's metaphor suggests itself at once to the 


WgB mk 



mind at the first sight of the cupola of the Benedictine church. The 
spectator repeats he lines almost unconsciously : 

'• Come in sulla cerchia tonda 
Montereggion di torri si corona I 

The colossal figures of the eleven Apostles are seated on clouds 


around the dome, in groups connected by tumultuous bands of youthful 
angels. The Redeemer soars heavenwards in the centre, encircled by 
a glory of cherubs, descending in regular gradation from the golden 
light above. Kneeling in an attitude of awe and adoration, the 
Evangelist of Patmos gazes upward at the divine vision. 

Such is the solemn simplicity of the conception, that the whole 
scheme of decoration is described in these brief lines. But the various 
details will occupy us for some time. Strong in his mastery of form 
and expression, secure in the magic of his colour and the poetry of his 
sentiment, the young artist of twenty-six cast aside the limitations 
hitherto imposed on painting, and, for the first time in the history of art, 
applied a single composition to the decoration of a vast concave 
surface. Before his time, painters had been content with the spaces 
assigned them by architect and decorator ; they had, in fact, invoked 
their aid, dividing vaults and domes into a number of compartments, 
in each of which they painted a complete picture. 

But how could the awe and terror of Correggio's conception have 
been expressed in the narrow limits thus marked out ? How could he 
have suggested the ecstatic rapture of the apocalyptic vision in the 
ascetic calm, the devout immobility, of single figures ranged in a line, 
each in its own setting .'' 

The aged St. John, with flashing eyes, and beard and hair " as 
white as wool," is on the summit of the hill of Patmos, meditating 
on the book his symbolic eagle bears upon its outspread wings. His 
thoughts are of the Saviour, and of his brethren the Apostles who have 
gone before him. He alone survives of the heroes who received the 
Messiah's words, and carried them throughout the world. Rapt and 
contemplative, thought turns to vision in his brain. He sees them all 
in the luminous sky above, and, falling on his knees, clasps his tremulous 
knotted hands, adoring his ascending Lord. Christ, " like unto a son 
of man," is clothed in a long white garment, because " he that over- 
comcth shall be clothed in white raiment." " His eyes are as a flame 
<jf fire ; his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace ; 
and his voice as the sound of many waters." 

The heads of Christ and of the Evansfelist have certain Mante- 


gnesque traits, but they are more broadly conceived and painted than 
the types of the Vincenzan master. There is a Hl<eness between 
them, though one is fair and youthful, the other a hoary old man. 
The one Is animated with the serene joy of victory over the world 
and death, while the other betrays the amazement of him who be- 
holds things unspeakable. The figure of St. John is badly placed, 
however. It is l)chind the spectator when he looks upward at the 

Saviour from the supposed point of sight, and as the feet of the Evan- 
gelist rest against the cornice, his figure is almost entirely concealed 
by the latter. The two aged Apostles seated on the clouds above St. 
John are brought together, in a sculpturesque group, by the inter- 
lacement of their arms, and by the folds of a green mantle thrown 
across their legs. The youthful angel with uplifted left arm above 
them forms part of the composition. To the left of the group, seated 


on, or emerging from the clouds, are three robust and joyous cherubs. 
The whole figure of one of the three appears, a beautiful study, 
remarkable for the novelty of the pose, and the radiant satisfaction of 
the face. 

The next Apostle leans forward to look at his two companions, 
but his right arm is bent behind him, and touches the legs of a fourth 
saint. By this expedient, and the genial intervention of a cherub, seen 

the Cupola of San Gu 


from behind, who attempts to make his way between them, the painter 
masks, as it were, the isolation of this grand figure. The Apostles 
round the dome are eleven in number ; representing them in groups of 
two, the painter was obliged to leave one figure in solitude. The third 
was the one selected. The yellowish mantle which covers his knees 
swirls in broad folds among the clouds below, to the great delight of an 
urchin with long fair curls, who has planted himself upon it, and holds 


on to it with both hands. The dark figure next in order stands out 
ao-alnst a Hght background. His luxuriant hair and beard arc of a 
warm chestnut colour. He looks straight in front of him, pointing 
with his right hand to St. John. An angel, obeying the sign, gazes 
earnestly at the Evangelist, and a second, rising to look, lays a little 
hand upon his shoulder with a gesture of confident affection. The 
neighbouring Apostle fixes his eager eyes on the Saviour, heedless of 
the cherub who plucks at his blue mantle. Below the group two 
angels plunge merrily into the wreaths of floating cloud. 

In the open space dividing this group from the next a single angel 
hovers, bathed in vaporous light. Beyond rise two gigantic figures, 
forming one of the most beautiful passages in the composition. The 
first is seen in profile, his face in shadow. His beard and hair are 
dark and abundant ; an ample green mantle is wound about his body. 
With uplifted hand he addresses the young Apostle beside him, a 
magnificent nude figure, seated, with all the impressive gravity of 
an antique god, on the yellow robe which two angels, hovering lightly 
among the clouds, hold up beneath him. He leans his left elbow on 
the shoulder of an attendant cherub ; the piitto, feeling the weight, 
supports himself in his turn on the back of another, whose little 
body bends beneath the double burden. The Apollo-like head, with 
its crisp fair hair, the brilliant eyes, the dignified attitude, the perfect 
modelling of the nude form, admirable in its sobriety and freedom from 
anatomical display, make up a type of manly beauty which might bear 
comparison with the finest examples of classic sculpture.^ 

Other angels, seated, or grouped among the large figures, or 
sporting joyously among the clouds, are carried round the whole 
circumference of the dome, like the flowers of a garland. Around 
the feet, between the legs, and under the blue mantle of the next 
Apostle, a richly coloured figure, with tawny hair and ruddy flesh-tints, 

1 There is a famous sketch by Correggio in red pencil of this Apostle and Iiis 
attendant angels in the Louvre. In the fresco the painter altered the pose of the head. 
Another dra\ving of a group of three Apostles and several angels on clouds is in the 
Vienna Museum. It is not unlikely that it was a study made for this cupola, but 
abandoned in favour of some new idea. Herr v. Becherath of Berlin also owns a small 
drawing of the Apostle Paul with angels. 

1) D 


several cherubs are clustered, absorbed in their own sports, like the 
genii that gather round the symbolic statue of the Nile. One of these 
clings to the Apostle's foot, and gazes upwards. The gentle expression 
of the saint who permits these innocent gambols is contrasted with 
the severe features and leonine head of his neighbour, who, seated and 
seen in profile, one hand resting on his hip, the other extended behind 
him, leans forward to look at St. John. The last two colossal figures 

are turned in the same direction. St. Peter, with snowy hair and 
beard and yellow mantle, which conceals but little of his form, holds 
the golden keys in his right hand, and raises the left towards heaven, 
pointing out the ascending Saviour to the Evangelist of Patmos, 
on whom St. Paul's eyes are likewise fixed. The latter, a perfectly 
nude figure, supports his chin on one hand. The cherubs approach 
this group, peering at them through the clouds, but they do not 

Jricaa oj an ^U>o^sll 


clamber about them nor interpose between them with their accustomed 
gay assurance. The austerity of the two chief Apostles seems to hold 
them in awe. 

The darkness which has reigned in this cupola for three and a half 
centuries, broken only by the scanty light of four small apertures, has 
prevented a proper appreciation of these frescoes, and indeed, if we may 
venture to say 
so, of Correggio 
himself. The 
famous Paolo 
Toschi and his 
scholars repro- 
duced these, as 
well as all other 
frescoes by Cor- 
reggio, first in 
water-colour and 
afterwards in en- 
gravings. But 
much as we ad- 
mire their work, 
which is really 
remarkable, tak- 
ing into account 
the fact that cer- 
tain injured pOr- STIDV of an apostle tOK THK CUrOLA OF SAN GIOVANNI EVANCFLISTA, 

tions had to be in the i.ouvre 

translated, rather 

reproduced, it must be admitted that they very often made their own 
impressions, their own individuality, and the teachings of their school, 
do duty for a scrupulous adherence to the sentiment and ieatures 
of the original. A certain academic air pervades their reproductions, 
giving a softness and polish to the whole which students have accepted 
as characteristic of the master, and which have done much to justify the 
Arcadian title oi the painter of the Gnues, as applied to Correggio. In 



IfT^* ■ 



f f 


■<»-■ . 


reality, few works of the Italian Renaissance are more vigorous in 
conception, expression, and execution than the decorations of this 

The figures of the Apostles and of the Redeemer preserve the just 
proportions of muscle 'in the vast scale on which they are designed, and 
are never weak nor slovenly in treatment. Michelangelo obtained a 
muscular grandeur and vigour by an ostentatious display of anatomical 

From the Cupola of San 

reliefs, and created a school which ended, as Benvenuto Cellini said of 
Bandinello, by making sac/cs of melons instead of figures. In Cor- 
rcggio's more sober creations, strength and solemnity join hands with 
dignity and beauty. There are no exaggerated attitudes, no gestures 
out of harmony with those great spirits who spread the word of 
God throughout the nations. Although in the rendering of their nude 
forms the painter has discarded the timid and austere composure of the 


fifteenth-century tradition for the highest development of mascuHnc 
vigour, his saints lose nothing of the dignity proper to their 

The riotous band of children, no longer ana-mic and contemplative, 
hut Ijrimming over with health and merriment, are in perfect harmony 
with the colossal forms of the Apostles. The agile movements of their 
robust little bodies emphasise the power of the saintly giants, because 

we recognise in the one development the germ of the other, and see in 
these youthful forms a promise of the vigorous manhood realised in the 
pioneers of Christianity. 

The mellow tones of the carnations, so life-like that the blood seems 
to be circling beneath the painted epidermis, the lofty gaze of the 
thoughtful saints, the lively eyes and smiling faces of the vivacious 
butti, the movement of the air that stirs their fair locks, the long 


hair, beards, and mantles of ihe Apostles, all combine to kindle the 
"fire of life" in this miraculous vision. 

The full enjoyment of its beauties has been reserved for our own 
times. For the last three hundred and seventy years the student of 
these frescoes has had to contend against the difficulties of distinguish- 
ing forms and colours in the semi-obscurity of the dome. In 1894 it 

occurred to us 
that a circle of 
some hundred 
little electric 
lamps concealed 
in the cornice 
would illumine 
and reveal the 
The idea was fa- 
vourably receiv- 
ed and warmly 
supported by Dr. 
Giovanni Mari- 
otti, to whom the 
execution of the 
project and the 
gratitude of all 
admirers of Cor- 
reggio are alike 
due. The light, 

as it gradually extends throughout the dome, " gives it the appearance 
of a fragment of heaven suddenly disclosed in the sacred darkness of 
the temple," and when "it begins to diminish and die out, it seems as if 
Christ, the Apostles, St. John, the angels, the clouds, the vi^hole vision 
in short, were fading away in the azure firmament, whence but now it 
drew near to fill our souls with wonder and delight." ' 

1 K. Panzacchi, // C<»-rt\zi^w (in Natiira ed Arte, year iii., nos. i S and 2 1 . Milan, 1 894). 
Another article by this writer api eared in the volume ^/ n'ssi?, pp. 115-123. Rome, 1882. 


In the spaces between the four round windows in the frieze, Cor- 
reggio painted the symbols of the Evangelists amidst a network of 
festoons and ornaments. '' There were," says the writer of the Apo- 
calypse, " four beasts. And the first beast was like a lion, and the 
second beast was like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, 
and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle." These symbols are not 
represented motionless and isolated as in earlier paintings and sculpture, 
but are grouped in couples, and show a friendly affection one for the 
other. St. Matthew's angel tenderly embraces St. John's eagle. In 
another space, the eagle rests his beak against the muzzle of St. Luke's 
winged calf, and the latter is seen again with St. Mark's lion, their 
heads laid lovingly together. Finally, the angel re-appears, in the 
act of caressing the lion.^ The spirit of Correggio, who aimed at life 
and motion in everything he touched, manifests itself even in these 
symbols, which are almost entirely hidden from spectators below. 

We have carefully examined each portion of the fresco here 
described. The technique is much broader and more confident than 
in the decorations of the Camera di San Paolo. The high lights are 
nearly always put in upon the dark ground, and it is only here and 
there that the shadows are strengthened by additional strokes of the 
brush on the prepared surface. The carnations, especially those of the 
faces, are obtained by the perfect fusion of tints on the palette, and 
are entirely without traces of the successive touches affected by Titian 
and his followers. There is not a single break, not a single passage 
where the brushing may be clearly distinguished ; there is the same 
absolute fusion of tints as in glass or enamel painting. And yet the 
application of the same methods the painter made use of in his small 
easel pictures to these Cyclopean heads and bodies has not resulted in 
any loss of their proper energy. Though a good deal damaged, they 
are still as vigorous as ever from a distance. 

1 There is a drawing in the Louvre 01 the two groups in which the angel appears. 
The Catalogue sontmaire des dessins, cartons, pastels, etc. (Paris, no date), makes no 
mention at all of the paintings, nor of the symbolic meaning of the drawings, which are 
thus described : Enfant aile assis, tenant un aig/e. Enfant tenant un lion ailc. Another 
drawing of an Apostle is described as Etude d'homme nu portc par un angc. As the 
reader may suppose, this catalogue is practically useless. 

cndenlives of tlie Cupola of San Giovanni Evangelista, Parm 

I'endcntivcs of the Cupola of San Giovanni Evangelic 


The surface of the dome is disfigured by a long crack, wide enough 
for the insertion of a man's hand, which runs along about two thirds of 
the circumference. Portions of the painting have scaled off; others 
are defaced by a perfect network of small cracks, and in others, 
again, the ground has crumbled away, leaving the first rough casting 
of the plaster exposed. To these local injuries another has been 
added, which has impartially sullied the entire surface. The smoke 
from incense and flambeaux, especially during the great funeral cere- 
monies held beneath the dome, many of them lasting several days, 
and entailing the constant burning of some thousands of candles, has 
covered the frescoes with a dark greasy coating, blackening the 
shadows, and quenching the lights. If the hand is passed along the 
surface, it brings away a thick layer of dirt, and the colours beneath 
re-appear in all their primitive vivacity. 

A thorough and careful cleaning of the whole work (a project 
already mooted) would be of the greatest advantage to the upper 
portion of the dome ; but, unhappily, it could do little to restore the 
ruined pendentives. The damp has penetrated to these from the 
small windows above; they are bleached and mildewed beyond recall, 
and shov/ large patches where the colour has crumbled away entirely. 
The fragments that remain intact give some idea of their original 
grandeur. In the eight angles formed by the junction of the arches 
with the fillet above, eight cherubs recline along the cornice on 
palm-branches, or festoons of fruit and foliage. These youthful 
angels are supremely beautiful. Their faces beam with smiles. I 
can recall no more exquisite rendering of infant loveliness. In 
each of the pendentives an Evangelist and a Doctor of the 
Church converse together, seated upon clouds in which groups of 
cherubs disport themselves. Standing under the centre of the dome, 
and facing the nave, we have in the pendentive to the left St. Luke, 
seated on the calf He wears a blue underdress and a violet mantle ; 
one hand is laid on the book upon his knee, the other is held behind 
his ear, to enable him to catch the words of St. Ambrose, who, attired 
in episcopal robes of white embroidered with gold, reads aloud to him ; 
an angel bears the mitre. In the pendentive to the right, St. Mark, 


in a tunic of dull reddish brown, and bright bkie mantle, leans his 
right hand on the tawny back of the lion, and holds his book in the 
left. He is seated side by side with St. Gregory, who, attired in his 
pontifical robes, gazes heavenwards, pausing in his writing to await 
the words of the Holy Spirit which the evangelist pours into his ear. 
The tiara and crozier are carried by a little angel near the group. 

The opposite pendentives have suffered less from the damp. In 
one St. John, a young man with fair hair flowing over his shoulders, 
dressed in a bright blue robe and red mantle, sits by the eagle, an 
open book upon his knee. He propounds certain questions to St. 
Augustine, marking them off upon his fingers. The bishop repeats the 
gesture, gazing attentively at his interlocutor. He wears a chasuble of 
golden tissue over his greenish robe, and an attendant cherub bears his 
mitre and pastoral staff". 

An angel, who wears a pale green tunic, and whose wings are 
blue, holds a great book open before St. Matthew. The saint turns to 
see what the aged St. Jerome, a bald, white-bearded old man, has 
written. St. Jerome's cardinal's hat is held by the/////t» on the cornice, 
and not Ijy the little attendant cherub of the other pendentives, his 
place being taken here by St. Matthew's symbolic angel. In this 
group again the colours of the draperies are soft and subdued. 

The sobriety we noted in the nudities of the upper cupola displays 
itself here in the simplicity of the draperies. These Doctors and Evan- 
gelists with their thoughtful eyes and brows, worthy exponents of divine 
mysteries, are no less impressive than the Apostles above. The dignity 
of their attitudes has no parallel save in certain groups in the Dispute 
of the Sacrament, and Correggio here approaches Raphael very closely 
both in conception and sentiment. 

Finally, at the bases of the soffits of the four great arches are 
eight oval garlands, encircling figures painted in a monochrome of 
sepia. These have scarcely ever been carefully studied ; they are 
generally hastily glanced at, and dismissed as the work oi pupils. Yet 
they are undoubtedly by the master's own hand. They represent 
St. Joseph, with the flowering rod ; Moses, gazing in astonishment at 
the fire which burns without consuming the bush ; Elijah, on the fiery 


chariot ; Daniel, hovering unharmed among the flames of the furnace to 
which he was condemned by Nebuchadnezzar ; /ona/i, cast on shore by 
the whale, of which all we see is the enormous head ; Samson, carrying 
away the gates of Gaza ; Abrahaiii s Sacrifice, and the Deatli of Abel. 

Above these sculpturesque forms of neutral tones and the simulated 
marble cornices, the more vivid colouring of the pendentives asserts 
itself in perfect harmony, vigorous, but nowhere crude and excessive. 
The painter was evidently careful to exxlude red as far as possible from 

his scheme, and it appears only 
on small portions of the more 
distant objects ; even this sparing 
use of the tint is further neu- 
tralised by deadening its tones. 
Blues, on the other hand, abound 
in infinite gradation, and greens, 
which are akin to the former in 
chromatic values. This predomi- 
nance of cool colours gives extra- 
ordinary vigour and effect to the 
flesh-tints of the Apostles and 
_. »«^ ''^^Sjgg^g^^g Biggk, cherubs, and an added radiance 
. «^f V^BflNB^^^^ii ^"'^ transparency to the lumin- 

!^^LJI^^^MiHl^Bi^Bl ous clouds and golden sky in 

LiiuiK MALLS IX EA,-, oiuvAXM tvANGELisTA, i-AKMA. whlch thc Savlour riscs hcaveU" 

In his frescoes in Parma Cathedral, Correggio showed a greater 
mastery of technique. He solved the most difficult and intricate prob- 
lems of foreshortening ; he attained to the fullest expression of life, 
movement, and joyful emotion. But the tumult of figures, the ex- 
cessive contortions of the bodies, the agitated play of the over- 
voluminous draperies, produce an impression of unrest, almost of 
discomfort. The spectator feels that one pair of eyes hardly suffice him 
for the admiration and comprehension of the whole, and he returns 
with a sensation of calm enjoyment to the contemplation of the cupola 
of San Giovanni Evangelista. 


In the account of money paid to Correggio tor his works in the 
church, we find, immediately after the entries of expenses connecteil 
with the decoration of the cupola, a payment made to the artist for 
painting the QTcat chapel, i.e. the tribune. A copy has, however, 
taken the place of the original fresco, of which only a few small frag- 
ments have been preserved. 

In 15S6 the Benedictines commissioned Cesare Aretusi, a Bolognese 
painter, born about the middle of the sixteenth century, to make a copy 

of the fresco. In the following year the entire apse was demolished to 
enlarge the church, and Cesare, assisted by Ercole Pio and Giovanni 
Antonio Paganino, repainted the new tribune from the copy. 
Malvasia^ and Ruta- declare that Aretusi, in his turn, had com- 
missioned Agostino and Annibale Carracci to make the first copy from 

1 Fihiiuj pitlriiC, i. p. 250 ; ii. p. So. IJologna, 18S4. 

- Giiida id esdtta iiotizia ai funstieri de/k pittitre die soiio iic/h- liiiesc di Parnio, p. 57. 
Parma, 1752. 


the original, of whicli Annibale had painted several studies six 
years before.^ This was probably true. Certain large canvases by 
the Carracci, after the frescoes in the apse of San Giovanni, were in 
the Palazzo del Giardino at Parma until [734.- They are now in the 
Naples Museum, and it seems probable that they served the purpose 
indicated by Malvasia and Ruta, for they are not studies of isolated 
figures or groups, forming pictures in themselves, but reproduce the 
painting in bands or strips, the figures being occasionally divided into 
halves at the edges of the canvas. When we further find that Agostino 
and Annibale were both in Parma in 15S6, the chain of evidence is 
fairly complete." We note with surprise the rapid decline of artistic 
sympathies. The Benedictines were indeed degenerate successors of 
those who had immediately preceded them. The vandalism which 
caused them to destroy a work of so much value rather than suffer any 
inconvenience in the exercise of their great religious ceremonies has been 
severely censured, but it has nevertheless found defenders. Among 
these we even find one of Correggio's biographers! " When," writes 
Pungileoni, " the people assembled, as was the pious custom of the age, 
to participate in the holy oflkes, the monks felt the necessity of throw- 
ing the choir further back, and giving up the space occupied by the 
tribune to the devout crowd." It may be asked why this should have 
been considered a sufficient reason for the destruction of a masterpiece. 
Could not some lateral chapel have been built close to the apse, on the 
ground occupied by the gardens ? The arguments of the historian 
become yet feebler, when he adds, in justification of the offence, that 
there was every reason to be content with Aretusi's copy, " which 
several persons had believed to be the work of the master himself.' ^ 
(.SVf pp. 140 and 142.) 

Jesus, enthroned on clouds in a great nimbus of golden light, wrapt 

' They are i)rescrved in the I'anna Gallery. Others are to be found in tlie Archi- 
cpiscopal Palace. See also ]?ottari, Lctterc ar/istii/w, ii. i)p. 253 and 306; vii. p. 371 ; 
and Campori, Calalog/ii e invenfan', [jp. 242 and 244. 

- Malvasia, op. cit. i. p. 356. 

3 Malvasia, op. cit. i. pp. 268-270. In the Parma Gallery there is a picUire painted 
by Agostino for the nuns of San Paolo, dated 1586. There is also an engraving by 
him, dated 1587, after Correggio's Ecce Homo, which was then in Parma. 

4 op. cit. i. p. 135 ctscq. ; ii. p. 17s ctsc!. 


in a white mantle, and bearing in his left hand a sceptre, raises his 

right hand to place a crown of stars on the Virgin's head. She 

wears a crimson robe and bright blue mantle, and bends towards the 

Saviour with an expression of gentle satisfaction, her arms crossed 

upon her breast. The half-length figures of St. Benedict and St. 

Maurus emerge from the clouds on either side of the group. Each 

saint is attended by a little angel, bearing the pastoral staff and mitre. 

Further to the right is the solemn figure of the kneeling Baptist, the 

cross in his hands. Near him an angel embraces the mystic lamb. On 

the opposite side St. John the Evangelist also kneels in adoration, the 

book and chalice in his hands, his eagle at his feet. Angels in every 

variety of joyful and animated attitude are scattered throughout the 

composition, and cluster thickly behind the two kneeling saints, singing 

and playing with rapturous energy. Above stretches another belt of 

clouds, from either end of which another band of angels emerges, and 

against the blue empyrean rise the eight concentric shafts of a 

Mantegnesque canopy of foliage, held in place by a semicircle of 

interwoven fruits and leaves. [See headpiece to Preface, p. v.) 

The praises bestowed on Aretusi for this copy seem to us altogether 

excessive. The general effect is pleasing, but the work cannot stand 

the test of detailed examination. Comparing it with the two original 

figures of the Madonna and the Saviour which were saved from the 

ruin, and are now in the Palatine Library at Parma, we note at once 

how inadecjuately the copyist has rendered the smiling sweetness of 

the Virgin's face, how he has disfigured the nose of the Saviour, and 

how hard and angular the modelling of the breast has become under 

his hand.^ Several of the heads in the two lateral groups of angels 

have been altered, and spoilt in the alteration, by Aretusi and his 

assistants, as we may see by comparing them with the Carracci copies, 

or better still, with certain other fragments of the original fresco, which, 

like the group of the two protagonists, have escaped destruction, and 

are now in Mr. Ludwig Mond's collection in London. 

1 There is a beautiful sketch by Correggio for the figure nf tlie \'irgin in the Louvre. 
It is in red chalk ; the attitude differs slightly from that of the painted figure. This 
drawing may be identical with one which was at Modena in tlie last century. Tiraboschi, 
vi. p. 2S9. ' 


Mengs and Tiraboschi tell us that some of the fragments passed 
Into the hands of private collectors, and that in their time there were 
three of these in the possession of the Marchese Rondanini at Rome.^ 
It is not improbable that these were the very fragments bought by 
Mr. Mond at the sale of the Dudley collection. {See pp. v. and 139.) 

Correggio's share in the decorations of the nave, such as the frieze, 
the candelabra on the pilasters, the vaulting, and the archivolts, was 

limited to the de- 
signs, and perhaps 
to the e.Kecution of 
a few fragments as 
samples for his as- 
sistants. The fact 
of his having, in 
November, 1522, 
contracted to com- 
plete the work for 
sixty-six ducats, is 
by no means in- 
compatible with the 
probability that the 
less important parts 
of the undertaking 
were intrusted to 
his pupils. 

Rondani's hand 
is, in fact, to be 
recognised in the 
frieze ; that of Anselmi is no less apparent in the arabesques of the 
vault, and it is futile to appeal to the less conclusive evidence of docu- 
ments in support of Correggio's authorship, as do Baistrocchi - and 
Tiraboschi. ■"■ For once we find ourselves in perfect agreement with 

ihe P.irm.-i Cillery. 

Mengs, ii. \). 153. 'I'irabosc 
Vite d'aiiisli, MS. no. 1106, 
Op.cit. vi. p. 261. 

in the Misci'Ihvien, in tlic Royal Library 


Father Resta, who says that Correggio designed the frieze, and 
that Rondani painted it.' The composition, with its agreeable; 
diversity of coloured and monochromatic figures, is thoroughly Cor- 
reggesque. In each of the spaces between the candelabra (on the 
capitals of which two cherubs hold up cartels with mottoes) a large 
figure of a prophetess or sibyl is painted in colours on either side. 
The centre is occupied by one of two designs in monochrome, 
which are repeated alternately the whole way round. The one 
represents a group of per- 
sons at a tomb ; the other, 
a crowd assembled round 
an altar on the sacrificial 
fire of which a lamb is 

x^fter a careful examina- 
tion of the twelve composi- 
tions, we came to the con- 
clusion that one among 
them was executed almost 
entirely by Correggio him- 
self. This is the fourth on 
the right. What more likely, 
indeed, than that Correggio, 
after preparing the design, 
should have painted a 
sample to guide his disciple 
in the matter of colours and 
effects ? This one com- 
partment is remarkable for its freedom from the coarseness of execu- 
tion noticeable in all the rest. The sibyls are beautiful and Imposing 
figures, finely drawn, the eyes full of light and animation. One has 
a rapt expression, the other is calm and smiling. The grisaille 
shows none of the staccato brush-strokes of the remaining eleven. 
The tones are softer, more fused, and more equable. 
1 Iiidice del Parnasso dci fittori, p. 68. 

F F 


The minor ornamentation, on the other hand, we believe to have 
been left entirely to Anselmi, an artist greatly superior both in taste 
and culture to Rondani. It consists of a tracery of foliage, arms, and 
amphorae, thickly interspersed with little figures of women, tritons, and 
animals ; the general effect is a little cold, perhaps, but delicate 
and accurate. 

Criticism, constrained to negative the attribution of these frescoes 
to the master, who was certainly commissioned to paint them, gladly 
confirms the ascription to him of the magnificent lunette over the small 
door in the left transept. It represents St. John the Evangelist in his 
youth, his long hair parted in the middle, and flowing over his 
shoulders. He wears a robe of pale violet ; a crimson drapery is 
thrown across his legs. He is seated on the architrave, beside a carved 
stool, on which are two books, one of which has gilt edges and a bind- 
ing of red velvet. On his knees is spread a long roll, in which he is 
about to write ; but he gazes upward, as if lost in mystic reverie, his 
eyes fixed on space, whence the divine voice addresses him : " I know 
thy works, and thy charity and thy faith, and thy ministry and thy 
sufferings." The astonishment of this beautiful upturned face is 
skilfully expressed in the slightly parted lips, and in the dilated pupils 
of the brilliant eyes. 

The eagle is not represented as a quiescent and purely symbolic 
attribute of the Apostle. Turning his head, he plucks at one of his 
large wing feathers with his beak, an action which has caused him 
to be described by some writers as engaged in pluming and cleaning 
his feathers. The idea is a prosaic one, and Correggio's conception 
was, no doubt, of a very different order. He had evidently made 
careful studies from some living eagle. The accuracy of form, and 
freedom and variety of attitude displayed in his five renderings of the 
bird in this one church are conclusive as to this. It is no longer the 
stiff, heraldic eagle of traditional art, with which every painter, 
Raphael in his Saint Cecilia not excepted, had hitherto been satisfied ; 
but the bird itself, in all its fierce and terrible grace. Now it is known 
that the eagle occasionally plucks out a feather from its wings. This 
.St. John's eagle does at the .solemn moment when the Evangelist 


bears witness to the power of God, and meditates on his glory and 
dominion throughout the ages. The eagle hastens to pull out the 
quill, for it is meet that the divine message should be written with the 
feather that has soared nearest to heaven. 

Besides these numerous works in fresco, Correggio painted two 
pictures for the church, which are now in the Parma Gallery. 

They were originally on the side walls of the fifth chapel 
to the right, where they are now replaced by two wretched copies,' 
and are said to have been painted for the founder of the chapel. 
Father Placido del Bono, of Parma, a member of the Coiifra- 
tcrnita Cassinese, and confessor to Pope Paul III.- They remained 
in their original place until 1796, in which year they were in- 
cluded in the first consignment of French plunder, and taken to 
Paris, whence they returned to Parma after the treaty of 1815.'' 
Their preservation was in no sense due to the monks, who at- 
tempted to carry them off and sell them in the eighteenth century, 
and were only foiled in their design by the vigilance of the Del 
Bono family, who petitioned the duke to forbid the proposed 

Placidus, son of the patrician Tertullus, moved by the preaching 
of St. Benedict, gave up home and wealth to follow his teacher. At 
Messina, whither he repaired to promulgate the ordinances of the 
saint, he was joined by his sister Flavia, and his brothers, Eutychius 
and Victorinus. Whilst they thus laboured to the great comfort and 
benefit of the community, Sicily was overwhelmed by a terrible 
incursion of barbaric hordes, waging war not only upon the inhabit- 
ants, but their creed. The brothers and their sister, animated by a 
heroic faith, were overawed neither by threats nor by martyrdom, 

1 Several copies were made from these liictures, two of which are in the I'rado at 

2 I. Afib, // Par/nigiaiio scn'itore di Piazza, \). 85. Parma, 1796. Pungileoni, i. 
p. 149 ; ii. p. 187, etc. 

3 Both pictures were cleaned and slightly retouched, first in Paris and afterwards in 
Parma. They are, however, in fairly good condition, the restorations being confined to 
the less important parts. 

■* E. Scarabelli-Zunti, Docuinenti e ine/non'e di bilk arti pan)ngia)ie. MSS. in the 
Museum of Antiquities at Parma. 


which they suffered with great fortitude, rejoicing that their state of 
beatitude should be thus hastened.' 

This episode, which furnished the argument of one picture, was 
no doubt chosen by Don Placido del Bono with the double object of 
exalting St. Benedict and glorifying the saint whose name he bore. 

Correggio made a preliminary study of the arrangement of these 
figures, differing considerably from that he afterwards adopted in the 


111 the Louvre 

picture. The drawing, in red pencil, is now In the Louvre.- A 
comparison of this, the painter's first thought, with the finished work, 
is of great interest. We see how earnestly he sought to avoid a 
partly symmetrical arrangement, and give movement and variety to 
the drama. 

In the study, the angel bearing the palm and crown of martyrdom 

' ./,/,? Saiictonnii, OctoliiT 5. Oiovanni ( 'roiscl, l.c Vile dci Saiiti, iii. p. 205. 
Venice, lyjS. 

- This drawing was also at Modcna in the eighteenth century. Tiraboschi, vi. p. 288. 


is exactly in the middle of the composition. Eutychius and Victorinus, 
kneeling side by side, their severed heads oh the ground before 
them, form two monotonous lines, uniform as a pair of caryatids, their 
bodies bent at exactly the same angle, the blood flowing in equal 
streams from either neck, their arms bound in like fashion behind 
their backs. \\'e shall see how greatly these two figures and that of 
the angel have gained by alteration in the picture. One executioner, 
about to aim a blow at the neck of St. Placidus, has placed himself 
behind the saint, in the most inconvenient position he could have 
chosen for the accomplishment of his evil task ; another, standing 
beside St. Flavia, thrusts a sword into her breast. 

In the picture all this is altered. On a hill-side studded with oaks 
and bushes, and brightly illumined by a clear noon-day light, the 
kneeling saint, his arms folded on his breast, offers his neck, which 
shows the gash of a previous wound, to the headsman's stroke. The 
ruffian, whose back is turned to the spectator, raises the sword in his 
right hand. His sleeve, which he has slipped off to allow freer play to 
his arm, hangs behind him. On the other side, St. Flavia, who also 
kneels, gazes joyfully heavenwards, as if welcoming a martyrdom for 
which she yearns ; the executioner stands over her, and seizing her by the 
hair, plunges the sword under her right breast. The headless bodies 
of Eutychius and Victorinus lie on the ground, bleeding and ghastly, 
one close by St. Flavia, the other beyond a knoll adjoining the group. 
An angel hovers above them to the right, bearing the symbols of 

Although there are passages of great beauty in this work, it is not 
entirely satisfactory. There is something forced and laboured in the 
figures of the executioners, especially that of the meagre and decrepit 
wretch who stands over St. Flavia, a something not altogether 
pleasing in the play of the draperies, and in the distribution of the 
colour, which is languid and subdued in the group of St. Placidus, 
brilliant and vivid in tliat of St. IHavia. The landscape, which 
to the left is painted almost in a monochrome of blues, loses its 
vigour in the subdued tones of the foreground. But the master's 
greatness asserts itself in the head of St. Placidus, with its expression 


of gentle resignation, and the exquisite fusion of its tones ; in his 
superbly painted hands, one of which is half in shadow, the finger-tips 
catching the sunlight ; in the ecstatic smile of St. Flavia, and finally, 
in the beauty of the angel. 

Burckhardt says that this picture is remarkable for its masterly 
execution, the splendour of its summer landscape, and the marvellous 
rendering of the martyr's enthusiasm in the faces of the youthful saints, 
but that the painter entirely fails to Impress us with the horror of the 
scene. ^ It is true that as a whole the work is not strikingly dramatic, 
but it must be admitted that it contains passages of an emotional 
quality by no means common among the artists of the Renaissance. 
We may instance the wound in the saint's neck, from which we gather 
that he was not despatched at one stroke, but that his sufferings were 
prolonged. Again, the foreshortened corpse of one of the brothers, 
with bare breast, his garments thrown back over his legs, and his left 
hand spasmodically contracted, as if in his agony he had clutched at 
the ground, is full of a tragic intensity. 

The companion picture, the Descent fro»i the Cross, is a much finer 
work than the above. Burckhardt calls it a masterpiece of super- 
ficial harmony.- We do not understand, however, why, after recognising 
the depth of sentiment in the head of Christ, and in the entire figure of 
the Virgin, he goes on to say that the subject was one rather beyond 
Correggio's powers. Taking into account the tendencies of art in the 
last days of the Renaissance, it seems to us that the theme had rarely 
been more convincingly treated. The superb modelling of the nude 
body stretched out upon the winding-sheet, and illumined by the pale 
light of a sky from which the storm is just passing away, compels the 
spectator's attention on purely aesthetic grounds. But he who lingers 
over the work, when this first impression has worn off, will see that the 
dead face is full of the expression stamped on it by the final agony, 
and that the contraction of intense suffering still endures in the pierced 
hands and feet. The head is supported against the Virgin's knees, but 
she falls backwards in a swoon, her e)es half closed, a mortal pallor 
diffused over her face, her mouth convulsed by a terrible spasm. 

' Lc Cicerone, ii. p. 715. Paris, 1892. - Op. cit. ii. p. 71^. 


liurckhardt admits the truth and power of tliis figiire. The very hai\i( 
of the left arm, he says, shows that the h'mits of endurance have been 

The remaining figures are less fine, in spite of the admiration 
they excited in the seventeenth century. The Mary Cleophas, who 

advances on the left, was repeatedly imitated by the Carracci,- and 

1 The most serious injury sustained by this picture was the damage done to the 
Virgin's left hand in 1792 by the carelessness of (liuseijpe Turchi, when he was replacing 
it after copying it. See A. Romani, Caso miscrando occorsn a nii qiiadro del Corn-i^'gio, in 
the journal, Per PAi-fc, year vi. no. 19. Parma, 1894. 

- See Agostino's picture, the so-called Madonna delk Coniriiiti', in the Royal Gallery 
at Bologna, and the picture painted by .Vnnibale for the Capuchins of Parma, now in the 
gallery of the city (No. 169). 


the Magdalen roused the enthusiasm of Guerchio and of Scannelli, who 
said that the most perfect beauty and the most profound sorrow met in 
this figure, the intensity of the one in no wise detracting from that of 
the other ! ^ The sentiment which appealed to the more meretricious 
taste of these ancient worthies is apt to strike the critic of to-day as 
somewhat artificial. The richly dressed Magdalen, who sinks to earth 
with clasped hands, her head thrown back, the fair hair streaming over 
her shoulders, is certainly a very attractive figure, but the student who 
looks for something more than this, and scrutinises the emotional 
elements of the conception, perceives at once that the grief here 
expressed is a superficial sorrow, scarcely more than skin-deep. We 
need say nothing of the black-robed Mary who supports the fainting 
Virgin, and the Joseph of Arimathcea who descends the ladder, the 
nails and pincers in his hand. They certainly add nothing to the 
beauty of the picture. 

The background, on the other hand, is a beautiful and masterly 
study of a misty woodland, washed by recent rain, the sunlight 
breaking over the tree-tops. 

1 Fr. Scannelli, // Minvmmo dc//a pil/iira, p. 277. V.. C. Ratti, of. at. ]). 61. 






AT this point in the life 
of Correggio it becomes 
somewhat cHfhcult to fix 
the exact date of his works 
without the aid of documents. 
His style was formed, his sym- 
pathies had declared themselves, 
his individuality stood revealed. 
As these chronological difficulties 
increase, there is a proportionate 
falling off in critical interest, 
which is naturally at its highest in 
tracing the evolution of the artist, 
and languishes when confined to 
the examination of single works. 
We have seen that AUegri laid aside his frescoes in San Giovanni 

G G 


Evangc'lista for some months, and that he returned to Correggio hi 
July, I 52 I, remaining in his native city until the following spring. It 
is natural to suppose that during these nine months of enforced 
absence from his great work, and constant expectation of his return 
to Parma, he occupied himself on certain pictures of secondary 
importance, such as the Eccc Homo, Christ in the Garden of 
Gethsenianc, and the Noli nic tangcrc, works in which we discern 
affinities both in sentiment and technique, with the two canvases 
painted for Father Placido del Bono. 

Be this as it may, we now propose to deal with these and other 
minor works, passing on to the frescoes in the cupola of Parma 
Cathedral, then to the great altar-pieces executed for that city, for 
Modena, and for Reggio, and finally, to the mythological subjects. 

It is generally believed that the original Eccc Homo, of which 
there are several old copies,^ is the picture now in the National 
Gallery of London. 

To the right of Jesus, whose hands are bound, and on whose head 
is the crown of thorns, Pilate appears, and shows him to the people. 
On the opposite side is a soldier. Lower down, in the left corner of 
the picture, the Magdalen supports the fainting Virgin. 

These five persons are brought together in a somewhat small 
compass. The figure of Christ is rather more than half length, those 
of Pilate and the Virgin rather less. Only the head and hand of the 
Magdalen are visible, and all that is seen of the soldier is his face. 
Yet the picture is by no means wanting in grandeur. The fainting 
Madonna is less dramatic than the Virgin of the Descent from the 
Cross, but on the other hand, she is more beautiful. Her features 
are less disfigured by grief, and if we connect the two figures, taking 
them as illustrating successive phases of the Passion, we shall see in 
one the mother, overcome with grief, but sustained to some extent by 
hope and physical energy; in the other, a woman stricken and helpless, 
with no comfort left her on earth. The artist has expressed this ex- 
tremity of human wretchedness with the happiest and most unflinching 

1 There is one in the Communal Palace at Rimini, another in the Estense dallcry at 
Modena, and a third in the Parma Gallery. 

the National Gallery, London. 


aesthetic composure ; but tliou^h his treatmrnt of the thcuie apiicals Id 
the culturcul and philosopliic of nioclcrn times, it proved a dangerous 
precedent for his successors. In copyii\o- or imitating Correggio's 
works they were met in this instance li\ the insui)cral)Ie dirficulty 
of reproducing the sen- 
timent of the original. 
The result has been 
that whereas there are 
many fairly good copies 
of the Brrc Homo. 
there is not one of the 
Descent froii/ the Cross 
which is even tolerable. 
And further, we find 
that those artists who 
most successfully 
studied and adopted 
Correggesque forms 
(Annibale Carracci, for 
instance, and Lan- 
franco) accepted the 
Virgin of the Bccc 
Homo as the type of 
the ]\Iatcr Dolorosa. 

The emotion ex- 
pressed by the Saviour 
is less impressive. His 
is not the anguish 
born of a conscious- 
ness of human weak- 
ness and misery, liut the individual agony of one who, suffering 
acutely, has not sufficient fortitude to repress the external evidences 
of his pain. 

The history of the original, like that of many other pictures by 
Correggio, is a perfect maze of contradictions and inaccuracies. It 

G G 2 

Cupoln of the Cathe 
11 the Vienna Museu 


seems certain, however, that it belonged in the first instance to the 
Counts Prati of Parma, in whose possession it was found by Agostino 
Carracci (who engraved it in 15S7), and later, about the middle of the 

seventeenth century, by 
Scannelli.^ When Mengs 
saw the Ecce Homo - in the 
(_^'olonna Gallery at Rome, 
he declared it to be the 
picture which had belonged 
to the Prati," but it does 
not appear that he had 
any foundation for his as- 
sertion beyond the fact 
that a similar picture be- 
longed to the family in the 
S sixteenth and seventeenth 

L centuries. 

In the Inventory of the 
, , ^ , ,, ,,,-,„. ^, , Duke of Mantua's collec- 

Ij; llie Duke of Devon>.hiri: i Lolkctioii, Cliatsworth. 

tion, compiled in 1627, 
another Ecce Homo appears, claiming to be the original work by 
Correggio,^ while Scannelli mentions a third in the Casa Salviati at 
Florence.* Thus we see that there were at least three pictures in Italy 
about the middle of the seventeenth century claiming to be the original 
Ecce Homo by Correggio. If we could be sure that no subsequent 
confusion of copies with originals had taken place, it might be possible 
to trace the history of these three, assuming them all to have been 
authentic. But the anxiety of collectors to enhance the value of their 
pictures by labelling them with imposing names has caused, and will 
continue to cause, the history of several pictures to be concentrated 
upon a single canvas. 

1 Microcosmo, pp. 276 and 280. 

2 Open-, ii. p. 173. See also Ramdohr, Ufhcr Malcrci 11 ml BilJhaucrarheit in Rom, 
ii. p. 85. 

^ U'Arco, Ar/iili mantovani, ii. p. 160. ■* Op. cit. p. 2S4. 

"ECCE HOMO" 229 

We give the legend in its accepted form. 

Tiraboschi, contradicting Mengs, says that the Prati Ecce Homo 
passed, with all the rest of the family possessions, to the Marchese 
della Rosa, and that Louis XIV. obtained it from him by a trick 
unworthy of a man of honour. " The Marchese Pier Luigi della Rosa, 
to whom Louis XIV. had expressed his desire to see the picture, sent 
it to Prance ; a copy was returned to Parma in place of the original ; 
therefore the e.xample in the Casa Colonna is a copy or replica." ^ 
The story is repeated by Affo, who asserts that it was commonly 
reported in Parma during his time that the Marchese, having sent his 
picture to France " to gratify a certain great personage, had a copy 
returned to him instead of the original work." 

This fable, constructed on popular rumours collected by Tiraboschi 
and Affo, was demolished in iSio by Angelo Mazza, who informed 
Pungileoni that the Marchese Marcello Prati (as appears from his 

will, dated i6So) sold the 

j£"rrf//6i;;/f and other pictures | 

for five or si.x thousand 

zccchini, a step to which i 

he was compelled by the Sli-sfia^i*;^ = 

necessity of paying off the '.Wl^m^^^' 

debts by which his patrimony 

was encumbered. The will , 

itself is not forthcoming, but I f 

a deed executed by Count 

Federigo Prati some five t '/ 

years earlier, proves that the 

Ecce Homo was still in the 

possession of the family 

when Louis XIV. had been ' "" ' " ' 

. In ,h. Duke ..i DevoQ.lnr=', C..!I=aK,n, Ch.isu.rU, 

uead some sixty years. 

All this, however, as Pungileoni noted, though it discredited that part 
of the story which reflected on the French King, threw no additional 
light on the subsequent history of the picture. " It remains uncertain 
1 Vol. V. p. 284. 


whetlier it passed to the Marches! dclla Rosa or to the Raiardi, and 
whether it is to be identified with the work which was one of the 
proudest possessions of the Colonna Gallery." ^ Pungileoni's doubts 
were inspired by the Mazza above mentioned, who had been unable to 
discover any documents expressly stating that the Marchese Prati had 

sold this and other pictures 
to the Colonna family, as 
was generally believed. 

No further proofs have 
yet come to light, and the 
doubts expressed by Pun- 
gileoni are by no means un- 

It is certain, however, 
that the Eccc Homo of the 
National Gallery is the pic- 
ture formerly in the Colonna 
Gallery. It was sold by the 
family to Sir Simon Clarke, 
who, finding it impossible to 
take it out of Italy, passed it 
on to Murat, then King of 
Naples. His widow, Caro- 
line Bonaparte, sold it in 
1834 to the Marquis ol 
Londonderry, from whom it 
was acquired by the Na- 
in ih. iiukc- of Devun.hi,vs Collection, o,.-.t.wn,ii,. tloual Gallery." The first 

critic who questioned the 
authenticity of the picture was Viardot, and he has not lacked sup- 
jjorters.-"' They condemned the colour as insipid and the shadows 

' Op. dl. i. ]!]). irS-i 19 ; ii. p. 162. 

2 Mcytr, p. 357; Richter, p. 27; W. V. Hcaton, p. 31; sir Frederick liurton. 
Catalogue, ]). 6. 

^ l-es Afitsccs d'Espagne, (fA/igk/em, ct dc Bch^iijiic, \), 231, Paris, 1843. 


as heavy. Others, however, Waagen and iM'izzoni ^ among the 
number, attribute these defects to a loss of tone caused by over- 
cleaning and restorations. 

The Chriit in the Garc/cii of Gcthscniaiic is a Httle gem. 

The Saviour, who is accompanied l)y Peter and the two sons of 
Zebedee, begins to be sorrowful and very heavy. " Then saith he 
unto them : INIy soul is e.xceeding sorrowful, even unto death : tarry 
ye here and watch with me." \\'ithdrawing himself from them about 
a stone's cast, he kneels down and prays : " Father, all things are 
possible to thee ; take away this zv\\y from me ; nevertheless, not what 
I will, but what thou wilt." Rising, he comes to the disciples, and 
finding them sleeping, he says to Peter: "What, could ye not watch 
with me one hour ? Watch and pray, lest ye enter into temptation : 
the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." He prays again, 
returning twice to the disciples, and finding them still slumbering. 
" Sleep on now, and take your rest ; it is enoiigli, the hour is come. 
Behold, the son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. He that 
betrayeth me is at hand." 

The Evangelists Matthew and Mark give the episode almost in 
the same words ; St. John barely alludes to it ; but St. Luke adds 
further that an angel appeared to comfort Jesus. " And being in 
an agony he prayed more earnestly : and his sweat was as it were 
great drops of blood falling to the ground." 

Correggio's little work depicts the consoling apparition of the 
angel. He hovers in mid-air with marvellous ease and lightness, 
but though he bears the healing message of approaching bliss, he 
cannot restrain his sense of pity. His face is at once radiant and 
sorrowful, expressing the mingled feelings with which he points on 
the one hand to heaven, on the other to the cross and crown ot 
thorns. Christ, eftulgent in his long straight robe and shining 
aureole, gazes upward with mournful resignation, the spasm of 
agony dying out of his face. The twilight landscape is calm and 
melancholy. The supernatural radiance sheds but a faint light on the 
grass and bushes, scarcely touching the figures of the sleeping disciples, 
' Arte italiana del Rinascimcnto, p. 358. 


and dying out completely in the dense foliage beyond. But in the 
distance a band of soldiers, scarcely visible by the faint glimmer of their 
torches, draws near, led by Judas, and over the mountains the sky 
whitens with the first pale streaks of dawn.^ 

This masterpiece of poetry and sentiment makes yet further claims 
on our admiration by its technical qualities ; a difficult problem of 
chiaroscuro is solved with supreme ease and brilliance, and the 
execution throughout has all the delicate finish of a miniature. 

In a letter of March, 1776, Mengs writes thus to Antonio Ponz : 
" At a first glance, only Christ and the angel, with the brightness 
surrounding them, are distinguishable ; a darkness as of night over- 
spreads all the rest ; on closer examination, however, one discerns 
infinite gradations of light and atmosphere. The approaching captors 
of Christ are barely perceptible, nor are the forms of the trees 
indicated by any distinct stroke or touch beyond the spot where the 
disciples are sleeping ; but as the objects approach more closely to the 
light, we distinguish leaves, plants, a tree-trunk with the crown of 
thorns and cross below. The radiance of the Saviour's face lights up 
the picture. But this radiance comes from above, as if from heaven, 
and is rellected from the Saviour on to the figure of the angel." ^ 
The picture has a legend, which Lomazzo has recorded. Cor- 
reggio, he says, " was accustomed always to value his works at a very 
low price, and having on one occasion to pay a bill of four or five siiidi 
to an apothecary in his native city, he painted him a Christ praying in 
the Garden, which he executed with all possible care." " This curious 
anecdote evidently owes its origin rather to the fable of Correggio's 
poverty, than to that of his supposed depreciation of his own works. 

We must also reject the suggestion made by Lodovico Antonio 
David to Muratori in a letter of April 4, 1705. " I was told," 
he says, " by a professor who is my friend, that many years 
ago the Marchese Bonifazio Rangoni showed him an account- 
book of the end of the sixteenth century, which belonged to 

' The above description aiiplies to tlic work in its original state, as shown in old 
engravings. It has darkened considerably, and much of the detail is now lost. 

- Bottari, Raccolta cU lettere artistidie, vi. p. 320. See also Frizzoni, op. cil. p. 359. 
•' T,tca dd Icinpio delta pittura.Y. 115. NFilan, 1590. 

^ -. 

■ * 


^ -^^J«- 



(onte Ckiudio Rangoni, who lived in the time of Correggio. One of 
the items noted was a sum of forty-five Modenese liir for a picture of 
Christ in the Garden of Gcthscinane, painted by the said Correggio in 
1520, and paid for in the month of March." ^ 

As INIeyer very justly remarks, this entry in an account-book later 
by some half century than the event is in itself suspicious." 15ut 
we have more solid grounds for classing the story among the innu- 
merable fables which have grown up round Correggio's works. In the 
first place, no trace of the book has ever been discovered. Secondly, 
Count Claudio Rangoni was only twelve years old in 1520, "an age 
not admissible as that of a IMcecenas or giver of commissions." Finally, 
in a letter written in 1584 by a member of the Rangoni family (Fulvio), 
which we have lately examined, this very picture is discussed, but 
there is not the faintest hint that the work itself, or a replica, or copy 
was ever in INIodena, and in the possession of the Rangoni. 

The true history of the picture is given by \^asari, who tells us 
that it was at Reggio in his time, and calls it " the most excellent 
and beautiful thing by_ him that is to be seen." -^ 

Fulvio Rangoni's letter of March 16, 15S4, confirms and amplifies 
Vasari's notice of the work. From it we learn that the owner of the 
picture was one Francesco Maria Signoretti, who is known to have 
been enrolled among the members of the College of Medicine. It 
further states that some few years before, the sculptor Pompeo Leoni 
wished to buy it for the King of Spain, and negotiated all the pre- 
liminaries of the purchase, but finally drew back when he found the 
owner determined not to part with his picture for less than five 
hundred scitdi. This information was all addressed to Duke Al- 
fonso II. of Fste, who- was anxious to make a collection in his castle 
at Ferrara.^ Six years later, Lomazzo tells us that the picture had 
been sold to Piero Visconti for four hundred saidi. It cannot therefore 
have been the example seen by Sandrart at Modena about 1628.^ 

1 G. Campori, Lctfere arfistiche uiediSc, p. 539. Modena, 1866. 

2 Correggio, x^.Zro- " Vite/xx.y. .17- _ 

■» Ad. Venturi, Delia provcnicnza di due ,/i/adn del Correggio. Arte et Stona, year 111. 
no. 4. Florence, 1884. 

5 Sandrart, no doubt, saw one of the early copies. Among the more notable of these 



The original was sold by the Visconti for seven hundred and fifty 
pistoles to the Marchese di Caracena, Governor of Milan, who bought 
it on commission for Philip IV. of Spain. ^ After the battle of 
Vittoria, it was found in Joseph Bonaparte's carriage by one of 
Wellington's colonels. The Duke, with chivalrous generosity, hastened 
to restore it to Ferdinand VII., and the King, not to be outdone In 
courtesy, presented it to the Duke. It is now one of the treasures of 
Apsley House. 

The N'o/i me tangerc in the Prado at Madrid is twice mentioned 
by Vasari, who describes it as the property of the Hercolani, a noble 
family of Bologna.-' The statement is confirmed by Pietro Lamo in 
his Graticola di Bol-ogiia, written about 1560: "In the house of the 
Conte Augustino Arcolano there is a Christ in tlic Garden, with the 
Magdalen at his feet, a most beautiful work by the hand of Master da 
Coreglo." -^ 

It afterwards belonged successively to Cardinal Aldobrandini and 
to Cardinal Ludovisi. It then passed into Spain, and was presented 
to Philip IV. by Don Ramiro Nuhes de Gusman, Duke of Medina de 
las Torres. Charles II. placed it in the sacristy of the Escorial.^ 
The praises of Vasari, who speaks of it first as " a very beautiful 
thing," and then as "so fine and mellow in execution, that one could 
imagine nothing to excel it," caused Meyer to doubt the authenti- 
city of the Madrid example. He suggests that the original may 
rather have been the picture of the same sulsject formerly In the 
Queen of Sweden's collection, which passed into the Orleans Gallery, 
and so to England.-' 

Meyer's opinion, however, found few supporters. The beautiful 

is one acquired ljy the National Gallery with the Angerstein collection in 1S24, and one 
in the Ufiizi, numbered 10S8. It has been suggested that the example in London may 
be a replica. For other copies see Pungileoni, i. p. 101 ; Meyer, pp. 335-336 ; Martini, 
p. 209, and Lcttcm sopra iiu dipiitto del Cornxiio rapprcsciitante Crista ncl/' orto. 
Milan, 1801. 

' Mengs, ii. p. 177; Ratti, p. i:;o; Tiraboschi, vi. j). 280; Meyer, pj). 150-153 et 
seq. Richter, \). 26 ; M. C. Heaton, \). 32, etc. 

Vite, iv. p. 116; vi. p. 470. ^ P. 13. Bologna, 1S44. 

■• Vite, vi. ]). 116, note 2; Mengs, p. 179 ; Pungileoni, i. jip. 103-104; ii. p. 151. 

'■ Correggio, p. 135 ei seq., and p. 356 ct scq. 

del Prado, Madrid 


little, canvas with tli^ures half the size of life, in the Prado, is re- 
cognised as genuine, although it has suffered considerably, first by 
the retouching of some early restorer, and latterly, by the severe 
cleaning to which it was subjected by Jose Madrazo in order to remove 
the over-paints. Jt;sus, with hair flowing upon his shoulders, and a 
long mantle, which falls from his shoulders to his t'eet, turns to look 
at the Magdalen, pointing heavenwards. The latter, a richly dressed 
figure, throws herself on her knees, and fixes a yearning gaze upon the 
Saviour's face. A gardener's tools lie scattered on the ground. Trees 
and cliffs rise in the distance, and beyond, a broad valley with a few 

Gustavo Frizzoni writes thus of the picture : " Although this work 
must be reckoned among the first of those he painted after his achieve- 
ment of a perfectly independent and original manner, it already 
exhibits the utmost intensity of facial expression and of dramatic 
action, the utmost splendour of illumination. The master seems to 
have stolen his tints from circumambient air and sunshine. No painter 
has equalled Correggio in the rendering of the impulsive fer\our with 
which the Magdalen casts herself at the feet of the master, who 
appears to her serene and glorious, in a landscape which seems to 
reflect the peace and radiance of the divine figure. With Morelli, we 
find ourselves at a loss to understand the doubts cast upon the 
authenticity of the work by Correggio's biographer, the late; Dr. 
Julius Meyer. If there be one of his pictures above all others which 
has retained the impress of original creation in spite of the havoc 
worked by a series of vicissitudes, a rigorous cleaning among the 
muTiber, we should say it was this very Noli iue taiigcrc.^' ^ 

The art of Correggio, with its deep sense of beauty, and its tender 
sensibility, was peculiarly fitted to give life and grace to the figure of 
the Magdalen. He introduced it in many of his large compositions, 
and made it the subject of several separate studies. But while nearly 
all of the former have come down to us, not one of his single figures of 
the gentle penitent has survived. We have seen that he painted one 

1 / capolavoti dcUa Piuacoteca del Pmdo in Madrid. {Archivio storio dclF ,irf,: 
year vi. p. 313. Rome, 1893.) 


such picture for Giovanni Guidotti of Roncopo, the priest of Albinea, 
in 15 17. Eleven years later, on September 3, 1528, Veronica 
Gambara wrote to the Marchesa Isabella to tell her of a " master- 
piece " just completed by Correggio, representing the Magdalen.^ 
" I should account myself greatly wanting in my duty towards your 
iLxccllency, if I did not hasten to give you some information con- 
cerning the masterpiece just completed by our Master Antonio, 
knowing how greatly it will please a judge of such things like your 
Excellency. It represents the Magdalen in the desert, doing penance 
in a gruesome cave. She kneels to the right, her clasped hands raised 
to heaven, in the act of imploring pardon for her sins. The graceful 
attitude, the expression of intense and lofty sorrow, and the exquisite 
beauty of the face are altogether wonderful, and all who see the work 
are astounded at it. In this picture he has touched the sublime of that 
art of which he is so great a master." 

Both pictures have been lost for centuries, and, strange to say, no 
mention of them is to be found anywhere but in the two letters of 
Guidotti and Veronica. 

We must now make a single exception to a rule we proposed to 
observe throughout this work, which was, to avoid dissertations on 
pictures falsely attributed to Correggio. The celebrity of the so-called 
Ixcadiiig Magdalen at Dresden, the inclusion of which among 
Correggio's works has been authoritatively forbidden by modern 
criticism, compels a brief examination of its history.- 

Morelli, attacking the problem boldly, in the teeth of popular 
enthusiasm and parti pris, declared that this Magdalen was never 
heard of before the eighteenth century. He gave it as his opinion 
that the smooth and affected grace of the creation was due, not to any 
Italian painter, but to some Fleming of the end of the seventeenth or 
beginning of the eighteenth century. He further pointed out that no 
artist had painted upon copper before the end of the sixteenth century, 

1 Willelmo Braghirolli, Dei rapporti di Federigo II., Gonzaga, con Antonio Allfgri da 
Correggio. {Giomaie d'erudizioiie artisfica, \. \\ 325. Perugia, 1S74.) 

- Giov. Morelli, Italian Painters, ii. j). 15S. Liibke, Essai d'histoire dc Fart, ii. ]>. 254. 
.Sec also Karl Wocrmanii, A'ata/og dcr I;. Gemaldfgalcrie zii Dresden, \\ Si. Dresden, 

Tur: •• RF..\i)T\<; m.\(;i)AT,i-,x " .\i 1)Ri:si)i;n 2;,7 

and concluded by sayiny that a careful examination of the picture 
inclined him to attribute it to Adrien van dcr W'erff, a master whose 
every characteristic appeared in the work, notably his colour, as in the 
crude dazzling- blue of the drapery, his treat incut of landscape, as in the 
minute rendering of every stone and leaf, his ]:)eculiarities o{ type, as in 
the long nails, their edges catching the light. Even the surface cracks, 
he remarks, agree exactly with those in Adrien van der Werff's pictures. 

Deferring, however, to some lingering doubt, he adds the following : 
''It may be, perhaps, that the picture was not painted by Van der 
Werff himself, but by some contemporary and fellow-countryman. In no 
case, however, can it be accepted as the work of an Italian ; much less 
of an Italian who flourished in the first thirty years of the sixteenth 
century. It may, however, be a copy by some foreign artist of the 
seventeenth century, from an original of the school of the Carracci." 

Morelli's opinion may be implicitly relied on as far as Correggio's 



authorship of the work is concerned. But we think he is mistaken in 

attributing it to Adrien van der Werff. 

There is a copy of the picture at Rcgorio, painted in the first half of 

the sixteenth cen- 
tury, as the Uffizi 
copy appears to 
have been, though 
probably not by 
Ijronzino, as was 
formerly sup- 

posed. But even 
admitting that no 
great weight can 
be attached to this 
"' '""""'' hypothetical date, 

From an engraving in the Palatine Library, Parma ^ ' 

we cannot refuse 
a certain importance to the persistence with which a certain Simon 
Lelmi, a painter of Citta di Castello, asks for leave to copy Correggio's 
Jl/ao//a/e)i, in a letter written in 1682, and recently published. " This 
is the first time," writes Venturi, " that we have succeeded in finding 
any mention of the famous picture Morelli now ascribes to Adrien van 
der Werff. The document above quoted throws considerable doubt on 
the famous critic's conclusions." It is, indeed, not unreasonable to 
suppose that if there was a picture at Modena in 16S2 ascribed to 
Correggio, it had probably been there for some time. But supposing 
it to have been in the city only ten years, the Dutch master was a 
boy of thirteen in 1672, and this picture, even if a copy, was never 
painted by any boy of thirteen. 

If, however, we accept the desperate hypothesis that the picture 
was bought by the Duke of Modena the same year that Lelmi wished 
to copy it, we must still remember that Van der Werff "was only 
twenty-three at the time ; and it is hardly credible that a picture by the 
young Dutchman should already have become famous as the work 
of Correggio." ' 

1 Ad. ^'cntl^■i, la A'. GalUiia csteine, pp. 290. 29T, 30S, 359 

Si, Calherine Reading. 

(HA»:rioN coiirr lAi.Ati:.) 

No question has ever been raised as to the authenticity of the 
Reading St. Catherine at Hampton Court. The author of the Guide 
to the Italian Pictnirs of this collection assigns it to CorregL^io's 
last years, pronouncing it a work of the most refined sensibility, 
and very modern in teeling. No trace of archaism indeed appears 
in the delicate face or in the technical treatment.' 

We must not conclude without any mention of two old engravings 
in a volume in the Palatine Library at Parma, which contains many 
reproductions, new and old, of Correggio's works. The two in 
question form a pair, and are indicated in the catalogue as of great 

One represents St. Joseph, reclining on the ground, his carpenter's 
tools around him. He raises himself on his left elbow, surprised by 
the apparition of two angels.- The subject of the other is .St. Jerome 
in the desert, gazing at a crucih.x supported by an angel in the fork 
of a tree-trunk. Two cherubs hover above, examining the saint with 
naive curiosity."^ 

In both the plates there are strong traces of Correggesque in- 
fluence, but the 
somewhat exag- 
gerated and over- 
insistent model- 
ling of the bodies 
is calculated to 

rouse suspicion ; 
though the en- 
graver, evidently 
a member of the 
Bolognese school, 
may, of course, 
have infused a 
sentiment of his own into the work. A comparison of many old 

1 Mary Logan, Giu'dc, etc., p. 41. 2 ■^^_ 3,027. 

3 No. 3,110. A St. Jerome by Correggio is included in the inventory of the Duke 
of Mantua's pictures, made in 1627 ; but it is described as a half-length figure with a 
skull. (D'Arco, up. cit., ii. p. 161.) 

the P.-ilaliiie Library, Pariim. 


prints with Correggio's originals shows, indeed, how the engravers 
of the sixteenth century contrived to render the more dehcate and 
graceful portions of his work confused and laboured. The two 
cherubs of the 5/. Jerome, with their expression of innocent curiosity, 
the little angel intent on the support of the cross, the type of the saint 
himself, the admirable foreshortening of the angels who appear to 
St. Joseph, and the features of the latter, all bear the impress of 
Correggio's genius in the last years of his activity. 

The problem, however, is one we cannot hope to solve without 
the help of the originals. Many of Correggio's scholars and imitators 
approached him very closely in their types, and the exaggeration of 
contours observable in the prints may have been faithfully reproduced 
from the original pictures. The shape of the plates again, the breadth 
of which is considerably greater than the height, was one much 
affected by the Bolognese school. 

It is impossible to be too cautious in discriminating between the 
works of several painters who flourished about 1600. But there is 
nothing in these two prints to make it improbable that the originals 
were early works of Giovanni Lanfranco. 




BEFORE beginning the 
frescoes in the cupola of 
Parma Cathedral, Cor- 
reggio executed two minor com- 
missions, the Annunciation and 
the Madonna dclla Scala. 

Meyer supposed these two 
frescoes to have been painted 
probably in 1520, either imme- 
diately before, or while the artist 
was at work on the cupola of 
San Giovanni Evangelista. I lis 
ascription of them to this date 
seems to us a proof that he had 
not studied their technique very 
carefully. The blending of the colours, the perfect fusion of the 

I I 


chiaroscuro, in which no trace of brushing is discernible, the form of 
the hands, with their long fingers, their sinuous lines and curves, and 
the absence of all angularity in the treatment of the joints, the type 
of the Virgin, of the angel, and of the slim pntlo who takes the place 
of his robuster brethren in the Camera di San Paolo, or in the dome 
of San Giovanni — all proclaim the pictorial, and, as a consequence, the 

chronological con- 
nection between 
these two works 
and the frescoes 
in the cathedral, 
making it almost 
certain that they 
were executed 
about the year 


There has been 
a great diversity of 
opinion as to the 
place for which 
the Madonna della 
Scala was origin- 
ally painted. Some 
declare it to have 
been the outer wall 
over the eastern 
gate of Parma, 
whence it is sup- 
posed to have 
been removed and brought inside; the city, an oratory being built for 
its preservation. Some say it was painted by Correggio on the wall of 
a friend's house, which stood on the ramparts near the church of San 
Michelc, and others, again, that it adorned a room of the gate-house.^ 

' RulM, Cwz/V/,; di Pnrw.r, p. 72 ; Ratti, |'. 76. .Sec also Pungileoni, ii. p. 161, and 
Martini, \>\> 108 and i 13. 

Fresco by Corregijio, in t 


Vasari says that Correggio " painted Our Lady, with the Child in 
her arms, over one of the city gates ; the dehcate colours of this fresco 
were a marvel to behold, and gained him infinite praise, even from 
strangers, who had seen none of his other works." ^ The testimony 
of Vasari, who, passing through Parma in 1542, entered by this gate, 
and saw the fresco some twelve years before it was removed to the 
oratory, seems to us conclusive.- The painting was evidently neither 
on the house of a private person nor in a room of the gate-house. 
Further proofs are forthcoming if such be needed. 

In all plans of the city of Parma before 181 2, the little shrine of 
Santa Maria della Scala appears on the bastion confronting the Via di 
San Michele, on the spot where the gate used to be before Paul III. 
strengthened the city walls by the erection of new redoubts. The 
name, dclla Scala (of the Stairs), was derived from the little flight of 
steps leading up to the chapel, which rose above the ramparts. One 
of the measures adopted in Paul III.'s fortifications was the removal 
of gates commanding the entrances to streets, and the erection of solid 
bastions in their places. The introduction of artillery had forced upon 
military architects the necessity of closing, strengthening, and protect- 
ing the mouths of the longer and wider streets, and of placing the 
gates over against houses or walls. When the old gate of San 
Michele was closed, and another opened on the north, the constructors 
of the new bastion carefully preserved the wall on which Correggio 
had painted his Madonna. 

If we are to accept the legend that the fresco was on the wall of a 
private house, we must further suppose this house to have been on the 
city wall. But it is highly improbable that such an obstacle to the free 
perambulation of the ramparts would have been permitted, more 
especially at a point immediately opposite to the wealthy Via Emilia. 
On the other hand, it is a matter of history that this was the site of 
the gate until 1545.^ 

There is no reason to suppose that the piece of wall on which the 

Madonna is painted was removed from some other spot. When it was 

taken to the Palazzo della Pilotta in 18 12, there were no signs of any 

' Viti, iv. p. 114. - Ibid. vi. p. 670. ■■ B. Angeli, Storia di Parma, pp. 13 and 531. 


previous transfer, and it was found necessary to saw through the wall 
below it, the foundations of which were incorporated with the bastion. 

The history of the fresco is therefore a very simple one. It was 
painted by Correggio on the inner side of the eastern gateway of 
Parma, that the smiles of Mother and Babe might speed the out-going 
traveller on his road. When the exigencies of the time and the safety 
of the city demanded the erection of a bastion In place of the gate, the 
reverence in which the work was held caused several of the citizens 

to combine with the confraternity 
of St. Michael for the preserva- 
tion of the piece of wall on which 
the fresco was painted, and to 
subscribe a sum sufficient for the 
building of an oratory, in which 
the fragment might serve as altar- 
piece. Permission to form an 
association for this purpose and 
to carry out the work was not 
easily obtainable in those days, 
and one of the subscribers who 
lived in Rome, and afterwards 
left a legacy to the chapel, had 
to exert himself considerably be- 
in .1, w nn.r Ml,' in, ' ''^''^ '*■ ^^'^^ grautcd. Finally, iu 

the spring of 1555, the notary 
Cristoforo della Torre drew up the deed empowering the foundation. 

The oratory was subsequently decorated by Tinti, and two pictures 
were painted for the side altars, one by himself, the other by the 
Cremonese, Malosso. In 1S12, however, the chapel was pulled down 
to make way for the barrier of San Michele. The beauty of the altar- 
fresco ensured its careful preservation ; It was clamped with irons, and 
transferred to the gallery, where it still remains.^ 

I Pietro da Lama, Atti ih/P Aaadcmia e del Museo parmensL MSS. in tlic Museum 
of I'arma, i. pp. 186, 202, 217, and 230. Sec Aradoniia della Scala, documents in the 
archives of the Parma Calleiy. The transfer was carried out by Pietro Biccliieri. 


Who commissioned Correggio to paint the fresco ? It does not 
appear from any existing records that it was ordered by the commune, 
to whom the gate belonged. It is well known, however, that a private 
citizen was often permitted to decorate a public monument, or some 
portion of it. 

There is a sketch of the Madonna dclla Scala in the Weimar 
Museum, which, like the copy in the church of Fiorenzuola d' Arda, 
reproduces the full-length figure.'' Unhappily, the lower part of the 
original has disappeared. It was no doubt cut away when the fresco 
was removed to the gallery, either because the colours had tlown, or 
because it had sustained some damage during the work of transfer, or 
of clamping. 

1 There is alsn a drawing of the Madonna and Child in the Britisli Museum, which 
is evidently a first sketch for this fresco, though the attitude is different. 


In the Weimar drawing, which has every appearance of a genuine 
slvetch by Correggio, a blank heraldic shield, surmounted by a bishop's 
mitre, lies at the feet of the Virgin, who is seated on the steps of a 
temple. If the drawing is authentic, as it appears to be, who could 
the bishop have been who ordered the fresco ? The name which 
naturally suggests itself is that of Alessandro Farnese, Bishop of 
Parma, afterwards Pope Paul III. ; ' but on reflection it seems unlikely 
that he, who never lived in the city, where his place was supplied by 
sufiragans, should have given such a commission. On the other hand, 
it is of interest to note that Nicolo Urbani of Bracciano, of the Order of 
the Hermits of St. Augustine, Bishop of Lida, and one of Alessandro 
Farnese's suffragans, lived exactly opposite the church of San Michele, 
and therefore close to the gate itself.^ 

The Babe, encircled by his mother's arms, and the figure of the 
Madonna herself, as she bends over him with a smile of infinite 
tenderness, form a line at once perfectly natural and supremely 
beautiful.'^ The Child is a perfect realisation of Dante's image of the 

" die inver la mamma 

Tende le braccia poi che il latte prese 

Per I'anima che insin di fuor 1' infiamma." 

It is sad to see how the original brilliance of the fresco has passed 
away from it, though, indeed, it seems almost a miracle that it has 
retained so much of its beauty, when we remember that for thirty 
years it was exposed to all the severity of the weather ; that the 
faithful pierced it with holes, in order to fix silver crowns on the two 
heads, and hang relics and votive offerings round the group, and that, 
finally, it was removed from its place, bound together with irons, and 
brought from the opposite side of the city to the Palazzo della Pilotta. 

1 Giovanni AUodi, Serie cronologica del Vescovi di Parma, ii. p. ii. Parma, 1856. 

■^ Francesco Cherbi, Le grandi epoche della Mesa vescovile di Parma, ii. p. 312. 
Parma, 1835-1839. The house of the Urbani was in the possession of the Bernini family 
in the eighteenth century, and a marble with the arms of the bishop, with his mitre, and 
the initials N. E. (Nicolaus Episcopus), was preserved by them. 

^ There is a drawing in red pencil by the master in the Louvre representing Charity, 
with three children, one of whom she raises on her left arm, forming a line almost 
identical with that of the babe in the Aradoi/ia della Saxla. 


The contemporary fresco of the Annunciation has suffered far 
more severely, and is a complete wreck, beyond the power of the 
restorer. It was a lunette, painted by Corrcggio for the church of 
the Fathers of the Annunciation in Parma. The Ixiilding was 
demolished in 1546 to make room for the keep or fortalicc constructed 
by Pier Luigi Farnese.^ In this emergency, says Vasari, the Fathers 
" battened the surrounding wall with pieces of wood, clamped with 
iron, and cutting out the fresco by degrees, managed to save it, 
and fix it into a safer place in the wall of their monastery."- When 
they afterwards built a new church in the quarter of the city known 
as the Capo di Pontc, the fresco was placed to the left of the entrance, 
" where an altar was raised by the noble family of Aiani."^ 

In 1832 the Academy of Parma bethought itself of the fresco, and 
took steps to eftect its removal, and so save it from final destruction. 
The necessary concession was not obtained, however, until 1875.* 
But the transfer, which was carried out early in the following year, 
gave the coup dc grace to the work.'^' 

The ruined fragment that has survived is in the Parma Gallery. 
All that can now be distinguished is the meek face of the Virgin, and 
the fair head of the angel. There are indications of two attendant 
cherubs, but the forms are almost obliterated. Something of the 
original composition may be discerned through the blotches and 
discolorations with the help of old engravings, which show the angel 
fiying over a cloud in which four cherubs are sporting. His right 
hand is raised to heaven, and with his left he points to the Holy 
Spirit, hovering with outspread wings over the Virgin's head. Turning 

1 Aless. Sanseverino, on p. 23 of his Notizic storichc artistichc, MSS. in the Museum 
of P.irma, says of this fresco, " It belongs by right to the Casa Scutellari." 

- F/A-, iv. p. 1 14. 

3 Fra Giovanni Francesco Malazappi da Carpi, Croniche della provincia di Bologna 
dci Frati Minori OsservajtU compostc nd 1580. MS. in the archives of the province of 
Bologna, fol. 170. Baistrocchi, Notizic dei pittori, MS. no. 1106, in the Miscellanea, in 
the Royal Library of Parma. Rata, Gitida, p. 19. 

< MS. Minutes of the Academy, iii. p. 131. 

'•> La Madonna Annitnciatn, papers in the archives of the picture gallery of Parma. 
.\. Rondani wrote of this work in the French journal L'Ar/, vi. p. 73 (Paris, 1S76), and 
in the Gazzetta d'ltalia, no. 84 (Venice, 1876). 



from the open book on the desk before her, she listens, with chaste, 
downcast eyes.^ {Sfc headpiece to contents, p. xi.) 

We may now pass on to Correggio's greatest work. 

Down to the kist years of the fifteenth century the interior of Parma 
Cathedral was characterised by all the bare austerity usual in Roman- 
esque churches. There were, of course, pictures and triptychs over 

the altars ; a few frescoes, the offerings of certain devout persons, 
adorned the walls of some of the chapels. The greater part 
of the transept was decorated ; - but the vast main building, that is to 
say, the vaults of the three aisles, the walls of the nave, the cupola, 

1 A Correggesque drawing in sanguine in tlie Louvre, squared out for enlarging 
seems to represent an Annunciation. It does not, however, correspond with the lunette 
described, which agrees more closely with a drawing in the Ambrosiana at Milan, ascribed 
to Correggio, but more probably by some pupil or imitator (see page 270). 

^ In the deed of 1522, assigning the decoration of a certain part of the transept to 
Parmigianino and Anselmi, the following words occur : Rcmovendo illas picliiras quae sunt 
de praesenti, or de l^ me sent i exist elites. 


and the presbytery were all subdued and colourless, displayinq- tht 
architectural lines in severe simplicity. h 

No trace remained of the paintings which had once adorned the 
facade, and of which Fra Salimbene tells us, describing the wrath of 


of the paintings themselves ; and having calculated that my outlay for 

7''r*"^ ci^-.//^-^^, 

,/^ A 

■>yyi V>vl 

'>*'-*VrvnH^ yr^Xo ^'^cKvtrii • ., ■ , ■ ,/^-f . ■/ 


gold-leaf, colours, and the final coat of cement on which I shall paint 
will be loo ducats, I cannot, having regard to our own honour and 

COKRl'.dC.IOS AUI'OCKAl'll A( ; Rl^lCMENI" 253 

that ol the place, undertake the work for less than 1,000 gold tlucats. 
and the following appliances : i, scaffoldings ; 2, the mortar preparation 
of the walls ; 3, cement for the plastering ; 4, a large room, or enclosed 
chapel, in which to prepare the cartoons." ' 

Correggio's words are full of dignity : " I cannot, having regard to 
our own honour and that of the place, undertake the work for less than 
1,000 golil ducats." Far from depreciating his work, as a foolish 
tradition would persuade us he did, he recognises and respects his own 
powers. And this intimate consciousness of worth, and simplicity in 
e.xpressing it, are as admirable, on the one hand, as on the other the 
studied humility of the "charlatans of modesty," or the boasts of self- 
satisfied incompetence are wearisome and repulsive. 

We note that the figures 1,000 are inserted above an erasure of the 
original entry, which was 1,200 ducats. This gives an additional 
interest to the autograph. It points to a discussion as to the price 
between the painter and the wardens of the cathedral. Correggio 
speaks of the magnitude and the difficulties of his task, and the time it 
will take him to accomplish it ; the others explain that the finances of 
the Chapter will not permit them to offer more. How was the gentle 
artist to resist the entreaties of Scipione della Rosa, and the vision of 
the bands of saints and angels with which he might people the lumi- 
nous dome .'' He meditates for a while ; then confesses himself per- 
suaded ; the eyes of all present are fixed anxiously upon him, as, 
seizing the pen, he draws two strokes through the 1,200 and writes 
1,000 above it ! 

As we have seen, however, he was still emj)loyed on the decora- 
tions of San Giovanni Evangelista. There was no occasion for the 
wardens to hasten the preliminary work of repairing the cupola. It 
was not, indeed, till a year later, November 23. 1523, that they com- 
missioned Messer lorio da Erba to restore it inside and out, including 

1 Archivio notarile di Panna. Deeds drawn up by .Slcfano Dodi. Alio, Viia del 
Pannigianino, p. 30; Tiraboschi, vi. p. 264; Pungileoni, ii. p. 1S2 ; Martini, p. 170; 
Meyer, p. 462, etc. We have examined the original documents, and have therefore 
avoided certain serious errors of transcription perpetuated by Pungileoni, Martini, and 
Meyer, such as the substitution of the word cakina where Correggio writes Vultiiua, and 
of the name Arria where he writes Anianiis, etc. 


the small columns and pilasters of the external gallery, and to scrape 

and cement it internally. The agreement for this work was drawn up 

by Galeazzo Piazza, in the presence of 

Scipione Montino della Rosa and of 

Alessandro Araldi.' 

The first notice of a payment made 
to Correggio occurs November 29, 1526. 
He acknowledges having received on 
account seventy-six gold ducats, thirteen 
imperial soldi, part of the first instal- 
-^ I I ^\ ment of 275 ducats, for his work in the 

cupola, in the presence of Don Nicolo 
dei Gotti, son of Rolando, syndic and 
procurator to the Chapter of the great 
church of Parma.- 

Another document shows that on 
November 17, 1530, he received 
another 175 gold ducats, the balance 
of the first instalment. But enough 
of this.'' 

The disappearance of many of the 

books and documents of the cathedral 

coKKECG^o.^"" "■""''""'^'' """^ ''^™'^' "'' archives make it impossible to give the 

history of Correggio's frescoes in minute 

detail. In addition to the few entries already quoted, we find another 

in the debtor and creditor account-book of the church, from which 

we learn that Correggio's heirs were called upon to refund 140 

1 Archives of Parma Cathedral, case i. no. 11. 

- Legal archives of Parma. Deeds drawn by Galeazzo Piazza, under above date. 
The street where Correggio lived in Parma is mentioned in this document. Domimis 
Antoiiius Alegris fil. Domini Felegrini de Corigia pictor vicitiie S.Johannis Evangelishe 
pro burgo anteriori sat Pischario. There is also a precis of the deed in the archives of 
the cathedral, case i. no. 13. 

^ Archives of Parma Cathedral, case i. no. 17. Pungileoni (ii. [1.233), followed by 
many others, adds that in the books of the cathedral there is an entry referring to Antonio 
in February, 1531, but he neither specifies the book nor tiuotes the passage, and probably 
made a mistake. 


imperial liiw paid to the painter for work in the cupola which he had 
died before completing.' 

We will now take a rapid general survey of the cupola. 

In the pendentives, four saints are seated on clouds amidst a con- 
course of youthful angels. The twelve colossal figures of the Apostles 
stand along the octagonal cornice above, between the oblong windows, 
in front of a simulated balustrade, and gaze in astonishment at the 
Assumption of the \"irgin. l-'rom the balustratle rist; eight tall cande- 
labra, one at each angle, between which are some twenty-nine boy 

or standing upright. 

genii, some seated, some reclining, others 
They converse together, or gaze upwards, 
carrying vases or boughs of foliage ; 
others are kindling the ilames of the can- 
delabra, or sprinkling incense on those 
already burning. Above them is a broad 
belt of clouds, and then a huge garland 
of figures, a vast glory of saints and angels, 
crowding round the ascending Virgin, who 
soars upwards towards the radiant sky, 
whence a youthful angel descends in rapid 
flight to greet her. 

Let us now examine the work in 

Above the capitals of the great pillars 
supporting the cupola, in the thickness 
of the arches, which are decorated with 
a Greek key pattern, are painted single 
figures in monochrome. Those on the 
soffit of the arch nearest to the presby- 
tery are by Girolamo Mazzola-Bedoli, all 
the rest are by Correggio. They are 
carried out in pale yellow tones, shaded 

with a kind of bistre-colour, and represent six slightly draped genii 

supporting festoons of foliage. This part of the decoration is perfectly 

1 Liher dchitoridii ct credifoniiii, already quoted, UA. i. 



preserved, and shows the mellow richness and fusion of Correggio's 
technique in its full perfection. The soft, delicate tints of these 
chiaroscuri, which are cooler than those in 
San Giovanni, reveal the painter's harmoni- 
ous chromatic sense, for the general tone 
of colour is less intense here than in the 
other cupola. The folds of the draperies 
have lost something of their severity, and 
the attitudes have a touch of affectation ; 
but the nude figures are modelled with great 
beauty and dignity and are full of vivacity. 
To the concave pendentives Correggio 
gave the form of scallop shells, surrounding 
their edges with other shells, which form a 
framework very similar to that of the lunettes 
in the Camera di San Paolo. 

In the lower part of these pendentives, 
or niches, as we may call them, billowy 
masses of clouds rise like the smoke of 
incense, white and luminous in the upper 
stratum, but gradually shading down through 
pale violet to a dense gray at the junction of 


ATT^MA^y^coLmci"™"""'"' ^^ arches. The patron saints ot Parma are 
enthroned on the clouds, and around them 
tlutter joyous bands of cherubs and youthful angels. 

In the pendentive to the right of the spectator as he faces the 
apse, the Bishop Hilary is seated ; he wears a white surplice and 
yellow chasuble ; with outstretched arms he gazes below and points 
to the high altar. One of the seven attendant genii fl)ing down- 
wards, turns his head to look at the saint, pulling at his com- 
panion's hand. Others l:)ear the bishop's pastoral staff, his mitre, and 
his book. 

Six angels, partly concealed among the clouds, appear in the other 
niche. One, who is seated astride on a vaporous globe, looks down 
into the church ; a second prays with hands devoutly joined, and two 

Pendentive of llie Cuiiol.i in the Calhcdral at I'a 


Others stoop to point at the fair-haired, youthful Baptist, who clasps 
his lamb in his arms under his short red mantle. 

Beneath the austere figure of St. Bernard degli Uberti, who is seen 
in profile, his right hand on his breast, an open book upon his knees, 
are two nude maidens in the first bloom of youth. One appears to be 
seated, her legs hanging in space, the clouds caressing her slender 
form. The other, her golden hair fastened into a braid, fioats in the 
air, her limbs stretched out with the action of one who swims, Between 
them an angel descends with arms extended, his little green mantle 
fluttering in the wind, his head turned over his left shoulder towards 
the spectator. Of him we shall have 
more to say by and by, for we shall find 
him reappearing as a Ganymede. But 
what is causing the mirth of the exquisite 
cherub who plunges into the clouds by 
the side of the seated maiden ? Who is 
he looking at, what does he see ? He has 
an understanding with the angel of the 
opposite pendentive, who bears St. Hilary's 
chasuble and pastoral staff, and whose face, 
like his own, is wreathed with smiles. Oh, 
roguish elves ! can you not bear your- 
selves gravely, even in the mystic silence 
of the temple ? 

Seven other angels surround the Apostle 
St. Thomas, a serene old man, with white 
hair and beard, wrapped in a long yellow 
mantle, and carrying in his left hand the 
fragment of a lance. The angels bear 
the flagon, the lily, the palm branch, and 
other emblems. A rapt solemnity seems 
to have fallen on this group, which is less "rma/b" corregck.: 
smiling and joyous than the others. 

In the angles formed by the curves of the four niches, twisted 
scarves support rich festoons of foliage and of fruit, grapes, apples, 

L L 


pears, pomegranates, medlars, pines, and roots, painted with infinite 
variety of form and colour. In the compartments of the octagon 
between the pendentives, and round the 
small windows of the drum, chiarosciiri 
of different tones are painted. The orna- 
ment of the four windows, which consists of 
a sphinx looking upwards, and foliage, is 
a little cold, while that of the side spaces 
is warm and mellow. The design of the 
latter is a band o{ putti riding on dolphins, 
who either carry twisted cornucopias, or, 
like the infant Hercules, strangle a ser- 
pent.^ Although the composition consists 
of only two designs, repeated alternately, 
the free and decisive use of the brush, the 
variety of the faces, and certain trifling 
differences in the curve of an arm, a leg, 
or a head, give an individual sentiment 
to each of these ///•///. The monochrome 
in which they are painted has not given 
p.«ma,"bv'^corTegg't'o. '^•""''°'""- "^ them a sculpturesque character. They 
are, indeed, as animated and life-like 
as those which are coloured. 

Above the narrow cornice of gilded stone, Correggio has painted 
another and much deeper one, of simulated marble, in such bold and 
cunning relief as to deceive the most practised eye. It is, in fact, only 
by ascending into the cupola and examining it closely that one dis- 
covers it to be a simulacrum. A device of which the painter made 
use adds greatly to the illusory effect. This was the carrying of the 
upper line of his cornice slightly over the circular frames of the small 
windows, in such a manner that looking up at them from below they 
seem to lie behind it. The figures have gained more by this device 
than any other part of the composition. By concealing the feet and 

' The head of one of these genii in the soiitli compartment has been repainted in the 
most barbarous manner. 

Pendentive of the Cupola in ihe Cathedral at Pan 


legs of the several Apostles more or less behind his cornice, the artist 
has obtained a most illusory effect of movement among these figures, 
making them appear to be at various distances from the verge of the 
abyss below. True, he might have expressed the same idea by placing 
them in similar attitudes behind a real cornice, but it is clear that the 
illusion would no longer have been complete for the spectator below, 
who, on changing his point of view, would have seen either more or 
less of the figures in proportion to the interference of the projection 
with his line of sight. The painter, no doubt, realised this after 
painting his aged St. John in the Benedictine church, and at once 
perceived that this obstacle to the illusion 
he desired to produce might be entirely 
obviated by painting a cornice, instead of 
making use of the actual one. 

We are bound to confess that we can- 
not give that unqualified praise to the 
figures themselves which many of Cor- 
reggio's admirers have expressed. They 
are not all equally fine and equally im- 
pressive. They seem to us the least suc- 
cessful part of the whole work, and we 
recall the vision of the Apostles in San 
Giovanni Evangelista with a feeling of 

The most singular feature of the work 
is that the nude forms are modelled with 
the master's accustomed sobriety, whereas 
the attitudes and draperies have become 
confused and extravagant. 

In some passages, indeed, repose and 
dignity are set at noufrht. The nude con- '''°the cupola of the catheural at 


tours appear through the involved and 

tumultuous lines of the abundant draperies in portions too small to 
enable the eye of the spectator to grasp the attitude, which is further 
obscured by the exigencies of foreshortening. This defect is more 



especially noticeable in the single figures. Distributing the twelve 
figures in eight compartments, the painter was compelled to place eight 
in groups of two, leaving the remaining four to appear separately ; and 
this, indeed, explains the more confused and involved treatment of the 
latter : the space they occupy being filled in the former case by two 

figures, the artist had 
less scope for energetic 
movement, and a cer- 
tain reticence in pose 
and drapery was en- 
forced by this limita- 
tion of the field. 
Among the groups, 
therefore, we shall 
find much to admire ; 
for instance, the two 
Apostles who look up- 
ward, holding each 
other by the hand, and 
the Apostle who is 
seen in profile, advanc- 
ing in a dignified atti- 
tude, his right hand 
extended, followed by 
an old companion, with 
arms outstretched. 

But though, while 
admitting their impet- 
uous grandeur, both of 
type and technique, we cannot give unqualified praise to these 
figures, we have nothing but the most enthusiastic admiration for 
the nude genii set against the blue of the sky and the gray of the 
clouds on the balustrade above. 

They are represented in copious variety of attitude — prostrate, 
seated, reclining, rising, upright, bearing great metal bowls, or holding 


Pendentive of llie Cujiola in the Cjthedral at Parma. 


out cups and small vessels for the incense they pour upon the flamin<^ 
candelabra, stirring up the perfume of the censers, smelling their hands, 
still fragrant with the dust of the incense, casting sprigs of juniper into 
the blaze, conversing softly as they gaze into the church, or turning 
their faces heavenward — all supremely beautiful, and full of joyful satis- 
faction as they tend the festal fires, and raise vast volumes of fragrant 
smoke to the glory of the ascending Virgin. 

From the quiet movement of the figures in the pendentives and 
the joyful activity of the genii on the gallery, we pass in an instant to the 
swift and rapturous flight of the innumerable host encircling the Virgin, 
who, in a red robe and flowing blue mantle, a yellow veil streaming 
across her breast, rises with outstretched arms, and eyes upturned to 
the golden radiance of the sky above. Angels and cherubs accompany 
her, dancing in ecstatic rapture about her. Some play mandolins, lutes, 
cymbals, flutes, and flageolets ; others chant joyful hosannas ; others, 
intoxicated with triumph, embrace each other, greet each other with 
kisses, and cluster above, below, and around her. They form into 
groups, revolve, plunge head foremost into the clouds, or issue thence 
radiant, with outstretched arms, in a frenzy of rapture. Some of the 
figures are of incomparable grace and beauty. Their eyes sparkle, 
their lips smile, the tresses of their fair hair sway with the air and 
motion, their bodies quiver and palpitate. On that side of the zone 
of cloud which is opposite to the Virgin, the angels are more scattered, 
and every figure is foreshortened. They appear to rise and cleave the 
clouds in a vertical flight, as if hastening to precede her arrival in the 
empyrean, and greet her before the throne of the One in Three. 

Above, a great multitude of the blessed are seated in a circle 
watching the Assumption of the Virgin and the angelic throng at- 
tending her. In the midst of the universal joy we are reminded of 
the great tragedy of the Old Testament. Eve holds out the apple in 
her right hand, with a gesture that seems to say, " Soar up to God, 
O mystic Dove ! Thou hast atoned for me ! Thou hast made 
reparation for the first sin ! " 

And among the crowd we see Abraham with Isaac, and Judith, 
carrying the bloody head of Holofernes. 

m^: u 


Abraham symbolises the obedience due from man to God, even to 
the death. Judith bears witness that even a deed of violence may 
be sanctified by faith. David, holding Goliath's hideous head by 
the hair, reminds us that no human power can resist the arm of 
the Lord. 

The crowd of figures becomes denser and denser as they descend 
into the golden vapour. There are old men with white hair, warriors 
in armour, veiled maidens, and naked boys. Some clasp their hands 
in prayer, others raise them to heaven, some point with outstretched 
finger, some converse with their neighbours, some gaze in ecstasy at 
the divine Mother, others bend forward to greet her as she ascends. 

From the midst of the circle a messenger of God flings himself 
forward to meet her, gazing down at her and raising his arms in 
affectionate adoration.^ 

He who gazes long at the spectacle feels himself gradually carried 
away by the marvel of the vision. He can almost fancy that he hears 
the echo of joyous cries beneath the vault, and that, were the summit 
of the dome to open, the whole legion of saints and angels would 
flutter through like a flight of doves and soar heavenwards. 

In execution, this colossal fresco is even more refined and delicate 
than that of the cupola of San Giovanni Evangelista. There is no 
trace of the brush strokes in any of the figures, and even those which 
have been laid on the shadows to strengthen them are barely 

The carnations have lost much of their reddish tint in the fuller 
development, or more equal diffusion, of the alabastrine tones, which 
in some lights appear almost white. The shadows are obtained with- 
out any excess of gradations, and are therefore exquisitely transparent, 
with a play of reflections, through which the modelling is as perceptible 
as in the illuminated portions. The air seems to circulate freely 
between the figures. In the rendering of such effects Correggio had 
no superiors, and his supremacy is fully attested by these frescoes 

1 Some writers have described this angel as ascending, instead of descending, not 
observing that, as his draperies cHng round his body, or flutter over his head in an 
upward direction, he must be rushing downward through the air. 

Pcndentive of the Cupola in the C.ithedn 


even now, although the cii|)ola is sulHed with dust and smoke, and 
in many parts defaced and reduced to ruin. 

This process of decay has no doubt robbed the figures of much of 
their original clearness of outline. Init we cannot think that the com- 
position was ever a perfectly coherent and comprehensible one, even 
in its first freshness. 

The genius of Correggio, with its great facility in resolving all 

Fresco in the Cupola of the Cathedral at Parma. 

problems of perspective in the rendering of the human form, with its 
faculty for the expression of life and emotion, with all the resources of 
its brilliant technique, its gifts of draughtsmanship and colour, failed to 
keep within due bounds in the execution of this work, and allowed the 
exuberance of his fancy and the mastery of his hand too unrestrained 
a license. It is true, of course, that such excesses are only possible 
to superior minds ; to a Dante, plunging deep into the mysterious 

' MM 


subtleties of theology and metaphysics, as in his Paradise, or to a 
Wagner, seeking too vast a significance in the world of harmony, as in 
his later works. Nevertheless, when an artist no longer limits himself 
to the spontaneous expression of his conception by the exercise of his 
exceptional gifts, but takes pleasure in the creation of difficulties to 
overcome, he may arouse admiration and amazement in the souls of 
others, but not that intimate enjoyment, that quiet satisfaction, we 
derive from works more soberly conceived. We have already pointed 
out that such considerations as these lead us to account the frescoes 
in San Giovanni Evangelista Correggio's masterpiece. It is the 
perfect harmony between subject and treatment, the simplicity of the 
form, at once severe and expressive, the glad obedience to the eternal 
laws of art, which delight us in the smaller work. Considered in the 
light of the difficulties that have been overcome, the marvellous beauty 
of many of the figures, the rapture of expression, the brilliance of the 
illumination, the frescoes in the cathedral are no doubt far superior to the 
earlier work ; but the multitudinous figures and the interlacement of 
so many human limbs in violent motion produces confusion. We are 
obliged to decipher rather than to contemplate, and are oppressed by 
the effort of disengaging the lines of any single body from those of 
others crowded about it. In this exercise, the wondering admiration 
roused by a first sight of the whirling concourse of forms gives way 
to an examination of the various details, and we end by dwelling on 
these, rather than on the conception as a whole. 

It is said that when the fresco was first displayed, one of the canons 
of the cathedral remarked that it looked to him like a "hash of frogs." 
Tiraboschi denounces this story as a " ridiculous fable." ' But the 
singularity of the idea, coupled with a sentence in a letter written by 
Bernardino Gatti, called // Soiaro, convinces us of its truth. Gatti, 
who decorated the cupola of Santa Maria della Steccata, refers in this 
letter, written only twenty-five years after the death of Correggio, to 
the adverse criticism of his master's great work in these words, " And 
you know what was said to Correggio in the cathedral." - 

1 C/. df. vi. ]). 265. 

'- AITo, // Pannigiano scrvilore lii Piazza, p. 25. 



In this contemptuous phrase our painter only received the usual 
measure meted out to those whose genius is in advance of their times. 
The crowd is never willing to confess itself unable to understand an 
exceptional work. The mediocre cavil at those who cannot descend 
to their level, though they are ready enough to exalt them after they 
are dead, when the artist's conception, surviving his body, triumphs at 
last over ignorance and misapprehension. Correggio, conscious of the 
greatness of his work, must 
have been keenly wounded, 
less by the criticism itself than 
by the ludicrous form in which 
it was exjDressed. The name 
of the canon who hailed the 
completion of an immortal 
work with this phrase has not 
come down to us, fortunately 
for him; it would have acquired 
a fame by no means enviable. 
But if it be true that every 
poetical work lends itself to 
parody, and that the most 
beautiful face may aftbrd a 
subject for good-natured cari- 
cature, may we not accept this 
"hash of frogs" as a quip 
not altogether infelicitous, from 
one who, bewildered by a com- 
plicated interlacement of limbs, recalled what was no doubt a favourite 
dish of his own .'* 

We do not know if the other canons were of the same mind. Ikit 
it is certain that the ignorant jest of one gave rise to a traditional 
prejudice against the whole body ; hence the absurd story that " before 
Correggio had finished his work, they formed the design of effacing it 
altogether." ^ From this intention they were supposed to have been 
' Tiraboschi, vi. p. 265. Pungileoni, i. pp. 211, 21:;. 

,♦ ir"^ - 






; Fresco in the Calhedr.M .il P.irm.i 
In the British Museum. 


dissuaded by Titian, on his arrival at Parma with Charles V. " After 
contemplating the dome for some time in silence, he exclaimed : ' Turn 
it upside down, and fill it with gold ; even so, you will not have paid 

its just price.' " The 
legends that grew up 
in connection with the 
work are innumerable. 
One fable (of which 
we shall speak again) 
declared that Correg- 
gio made use of little 
figures modelled in 
clay by Begarelli for 
the foreshortening of 
his numerous figures ; 
another, that Christina 
of Sweden declined 
to believe that the 


Study for the Cupola of Parma Cathedral. 
In the Dresden Museum. 

upper cornice was only 
painted, and insisted on having a scaffold erected that she might 
convince herself by touching the surface with her hand.^ 

The anxiety of the wardens of the cathedral to protect and 
strengthen the cupola sufficiently proves that if the beauty of the 
frescoes was not fully appreciated at first, they at least received a fair 
share of admiration. In 1533 the authorities began to cover the exte- 
rior of the dome with sheets of copper and lead, and the work of repair 
went on till 1539." 

We may now pass in review .some of the studies and cartoons made 
by Correggio for his work. Vasari, in the sixteenth century, asserted 
that he had in his possession certain figures "drawn in red pencil by 
his hand, with portions of a frieze of most beautiful children, and 
other friezes designed for the work, with various conceits of antique 
sacrifices." " 

1 Su>>ia iklla pittiira di Fraiiccuv Pasi/ii, MS. quoted by Pungilconi, ii. p. 22S. 

- Arcliives of the warduns of the cathedral, case i. nos. 22, 41. ^ Vi/v, iv. |i. 113. 


The confusion first made by this writer Ijctwccn the frescoes in San 
Giovanni Evangelista and those in the cathedral seems to have extended 
to the drawings. The "antique sacrifices" to which Yasari alludes appear 
in the frieze of the nave in San Giovanni Evangelista. Three sketches 
of a frieze of children ascribed to Correggio are preserved in the 
Louvre, but the design was not made use of in any of the works that 
have survived.' Pungileoni,- Meyer,' Venturi/ etc., mention many 
other drawings, the greater number of which are no longer to be traced. 

In the Louvre there is a drawing of the pendentive with the 
figure of St. John the Baptist ; at Vienna, a study for one of the 
Apostles (sfc illustration on p. 227) ;'' at Dresden, a first sketch of 
the ascending Virgin with two angels; in the Royal Library at Windsor, 
a magnificent and carefully finished drawing of the group of Adam, 
Abraham, and Isaac ; in the British Museum, a drawing of Eve. 
In the Duke of Devonshire's collection at Chatsworth there are 
various drawings of piitti, but it is impossible to identify them with 
those of the fresco, 
many of them having 
undergone modifica- 
tions {sec illustrations on 
pp. 2 2 8, 229, and 230)." 

1 In the Uffizi in Florence- 
there is a pen drawing of a 
frieze of children, ascribed to ^~:-'', 

Correggio (No. 1947 P.). It 

is probably by Lorenzo Sab- ~~''X '"'"■-^ 


- Op. cit. ii. p. 201 et seq. A^' / y'. ,v_ .. Vi 

•* Correggio, \). ^id et seg. if"" ( /. '^';.", 

^ La R. Galkria est e use. ^. ( \ ~^ 


■> Franz Wickhoff, Die — — 

itaiietiischen Haiidzeiclmungen ,\daim, abkaham, and isaac, by correggio. 

der Albertina, Part i. Die Sludy for the Cupola of Parma Cathedral. 

venezianische, die lombardische, '" "^^ '^°>'"' l"'"''^'' ^"-^^"^ '=^'"'=- 

iind die bolognesische Schule. 

{jahrbuch der kunsthistorisclien Sammlungen des allerli. Kaiser/iaiises, vol. xii. 1891.) 

'^ The drawing in red chalk of the ascending Virgin with angels in the Chatsworth 

collection is a late and ugly copy. There are several other drawings at Chatsworth 

attributed to Correggio, but certainly not by his hand. Tite Martyrdom of a Saint, for 


With regard to the large cartoons, fifteen of which are said to have 
been recently discovered in Paris, and to have been bought in 1754 by 
a lady called Basseporte for 8,000 lire} we are inclined to be sceptical. 
During the restoration and cleaning of the cupola a great many artists, 
from the Carracci onwards, made drawings of entire zones of the fresco 
on the original scale ; while others, such as Girolamo da Carpi, Barocci, 
Sabbatini, Passerotti, etc., copied certain portions in oil, or made 

studies of single figures or 
motives, at'ter the manner of 
the six sketches which passed 
from the Marchese Aldro- 
vandi to a certain Carlo 
Zanichelli,- and the colossal 
head of a boy in the Uffizi at 

These numerous copies 
in various mediums show 
how rapidly the fame of Cor- 
reggio's great work had es- 
tablished itself Vasari was 
the first to write of it. " It 
seems incredible, not only 
that the hand should have 
""°'^'°""- ^1 I ' "'™— -- executed, but that the brain 

should have conceived such 
a work, so wonderful is the airy motion of the draperies and of the 
atmosphere." He adds that Girolamo da Carpi expressed his ad- 
instance, has many of the characteristics of Giorgio Gandino del Grano. The figure of 
the Apostle in profile, looking up, is a study made by Bernardino Gatti for the cupola of 
the Steccata. Several of the drawings ascribed to Correggio at Windsor are by Parmi- 
gianino and Girolamo Mazzola. A drawing of a semi-nude female figure with three 
children, in the Louvre, ascribed to Correggio, is a study by Parmigianino for his Saint 
Agatha. We need not mention the hundreds of other drawings to which his name has 
been affixed with bewildering levity. 

1 Archiv. storko del/' arte, iii. y. 413. Rome, 1S90. 

2 G. Giordani, Sopm sei dipinti ad olio del Corn\i;gio. Letter to Cav. Pictro Martini. 
Bologna, 1865. M.S. letter of Signor Carlo Zanichelli in the archives of the Parma 


miration of "the marvellous foreshortening of the figure of the Virgin, 
who ascends to heaven, surrounded by a multitude of angels." 

The Carracci were even more fervent in their admiration. On 
April i8, 15S0, Annibale wrote to Agostino : " I lost no time in going 
to see the great cupola, which you have so often praised to me, and I, 
too, was amazed to see .so vast a composition so perfectly carried 
out, so e.xcellently 
foreshortened from 
beneath to above, 
executed with so 
much vigour, and 
yet with such grace 
and judgment, and 
with a glow of 
colour that seems to 
be that of flesh it- 
self. Trul)-, neither 
Tibaldo, nor Nico- 
lino,^ nor even 
Raphael himself, 
has equalled it ! " 

From thence- 
forth Parma be- 
came a place of 
jiilgrimage for all 
the numerous ar- 
tists of the Bolog- 


nese school, and the 1^^ ^1^^ ^^^.^^. p,^^^,^^,. 

cupola of the Duo- 
mo the greatest and most perfect example of Italian art, and the ideal 
that every painter of discrimination sought to follow. Scannelli declared 
that it was "a complete epitome of all the excellencies scattered abroad 
in the works of other masters.""- Nor did the enthusiasm abate in the 

1 Pellegrino Tibaldi and Nicolo dell' Abate. 
- n Microcosmo dclla pittura, p. iS. 


following centuries. Gianbattista Tiepolo, contemplating it, almost 
felt his faith in Titian and Paolo Veronese shaken ; and Mengs summed 
up the chorus of praise in these words : " It is the most beautiful of all 
the cupolas painted either before or since." ^ 

Ludwig Tieck, the famous German poet, sang thus of Correggio : 
"What genius disclosed all these wonders to thee ? All the fair images 
in the world seem to have sprung forward to meet thee, and to throw 
themselves lovingly into thine arms. How joyous was the gathering 
when smiling angels held thy palette, and sublime spirits stood before 
thee in all their splendour as models. Let no one say he has seen 
Italy, let no one think he has learnt the lofty secrets of art, till he has 
seen thee and thy cathedral, O Parma!" 

1 (7/,vv, ii. p. .5S. 







ETWEEN 1524 and 1530, 
the years in which he 
was workinq- in the cathe- 
dral, Correg-gio also produced 
some of the great akar-pieces 
now in the Dresden and Parma 
Galleries. It was, indeed, a period 
no less prolific than glorious in 
his a-nzTC, when he seems to have 
had but few distractions from 
his work. Personal details are 
consequently somewhat scanty 
throughout these years. In 

.■UTTI. (Fresco in the Camem d, >.'.„ I'aolo at Parma.) 

February, 1525, he was in Cor- 
reggio, where he appeared as witness to several legal documents, and 

N N 


where he also addressed an appeal to the Podesta, soliciting the 
examination of certain witnesses in his law-suit against the 
Aromani.^ In August of the same year he figures as one of the 
artists who made an examination of the church of Santa Maria della 
Steccata, a subsidence of the building having taken place, which had 
caused some alarm for its safety.- In 1527, the year when his uncle, 
Lorenzo Allegri, died, he returned to his native city, and at the 
instance of Manfredo, Lord of Correggio, finally brought his litiga- 
tion against the Aromani to an end ; he also empowered his father, 
Pellegrino, to act for him in another law-suit relating to the property 
of his wife, Girolama Merlini. In the summer of 1528 he was 
again in Correggio, as we know from Veronica Gambara's letter 
of that date to Isabella Gonzaga, describing the Magdalen in the 
Desert he had just painted. His wife's death took place shortly after- 
wards, and this sad event necessitated his return to his home, where he 
spent nearly the whole of the four remaining years of his life. 

We have seen that he happened to be absent from Parma during 
the siege. He was less fortunate six years later, when the hordes 
which the Connetable de Bourbon had at first led became in their turn 
his leaders, sweeping him on with them to the sack of Rome. In 
February, 1527, they skirted the walls of Parma in their march, to the 
infinite terror of the citizens, who expected nothing short of siege and 
pillage.^ Never did swarm of barbarians descend into Italy dealing 
havoc and destruction with such fury as these. The Lanzknechte 
took men and children prisoners for the sake of ransom, offered violence 
to women, desecrated convents, invaded houses, and, after robbing 
them of all they could lay hands on, set fire to them. They burst into 

' Pungileoni, ii. p. 193. 

- A. Ronchini, La Steccata di Parma {Atti e mcmoric delta R. Deputazionc di storia 
patn'a per Modena e Parma, vol. i. p. 182. Modena, 1863). Among these artists were 
Alessandro and Battistone Chierici, Marc' Antonio Zucchi, G. F. Agrate, and Bernardino 
da Erba, the architects, Jacopo Filippo Gonzate, caster of statues, G. F. Bonzagni, the 
medalHst, Araldi and Anselmi, the painters. Correggio's name heads the Hst. 

^ Angeli, Storia di Parma, p. 514 et seq. Ant. Francesco da Villa, Cronaca di 
Piacenza, p. 106 et seq. Parma, 1862. Pietro Balan, Monumetita skcjiH xvi. liistoriam 
illustratitia, \o\. \. Innsbriick, 1885. Unpublished letters of Vianesio Albergati to the 
Senate of Bologna. State archives of Bologna, 1 526-1 527, etc., etc. 


the churches, tore down the pictures, shattered the statues, broke up 
the consecrated wafers, and poured out the holy oil upon the ground. 
Their leader was threatened with violence himself when he attempted 
to curb their worst excesses. Peasants were hunted and murdered ; 
merchants were despoiled of all they possessed ; envoys who 
attempted to treat with the invaders were repulsed with savage 
shouts and menaces. Some unpublished letters in the archives of 
Bologna give a brief but terrible account of that memorable pro- 
gress. The passer-by, says one, " may easily follow their route from 
any elevated spot, for they mark their track in fire, burning all the 
houses and buildings they pass, so that there is darkness over all the 
plain, through which fire and smoke are visible, proclaiming the 
advent of the barbarians, who have come to destroy and devastate this 
province of Italy as they did before in times gone by." And in another 
letter : "Nothing is to be seen but clouds of smoke by day, and flames 
of fire by night." Correggio, gazing through the narrow windows of 
the cathedral dome, must have seen these sinister columns of smoke 
rising along the wide valley of the Po, and melting away towards 
Ferrara and Bologna. 

The pictures we are now about to describe were distributed among 
the three Emilian cities, Modcna, Reggio, and Parma. Parma is the 
only one of the three which still retains her treasures. 

The JMadonna loith St. Sebastian, was painted in 1525 for the 
Confraternity of St. Sebastian at Modena. In 1659 Duke Alfonso lY. 
obtained it for his gallery, in exchange presenting a copy by Boulanger, 
and causing the vault of the choir In the chapel of the brotherhood to 
be painted by the Bolognese artists, Colonna and Mitelli.^ It was 
included among the pictures sold by Francesco III. to Augustus III., 
King of Poland and Elector of Saxony, and passed into the Dresden 
Gallery in 1746. 

1 he Virgin, In a crimson robe and blue mantle, Is enthroned on 
clouds in an aureole of light, surrounded by a semicircle of seraph- 

' Vasari, vi. p. 471. Tiraboschi, p. 276. rungileoni, i. p. 159, and ii. p. 193. Venturi, 
Galleria esknse, p. 309, etc. For the four pictures by Correggio in the Dresden Gallery, 
see Hermann Liicke, Die konigliche Gemiildegakrie zu Dresden. Munich, 1S94. 


heads; she gently supports the Infant, who is seated across her left 
knee. Youthful angels are grouped on each side of her. One of those 
nearest to her bends forward to gaze at the sleeping St. Roch, another 
to call St. Sebastian's attention to the Child. Others at her feet support 
the clouds, caryatid-wise, or mount sportively upon them. The line 
formed by the three saints descends in a peculiar manner from left to 
right. St. Sebastian, " whose expression and attitude are of most 
strange beauty," ^ stands to the left. His hands are bound to the trunk 
of a tree, but he turns to gaze with a happy smile at the Infant Jesus, 
who extends his little hand in benediction. St. Geminianus, in 
a white surplice, a gold cope, and crimson hose, kneels, facing 
the spectator, to whom he points out the Virgin and Child above. 
St. Roch, in a blue tunic and orange mantle, sleeps peacefully on a 
rising knoll, relieved from his sufferings. A glimpse of landscape 
is seen behind him. The light falls on his legs only ; the rest of his 
body is in the shadow of the clouds. The light is therefore diffused 
more especially on the figures of St. Sebastian and of the patron saint 
of Modena, and dies away upon the third saint in a manner very restful 
to the eye. Seated on the ground to the left, a beautiful and smiling 
girl observes St. Geminianus, anxious to invoke his protection for 
the city of Modena, which is indicated by the model of a group of 
buildings, among them the cathedral, with its tower and doorway.- 

The picture has lost much of its original brilliance. Unlike most 
of the master's works, the history of its migrations is very simple, 
though the talc of its misadventures is a long and painful one. Gian 
Battista Spaccini relates that so early as 1611 Ercole Abba obtained 
leave to repair the damage done to the picture by Ercole dell' Abate, 
who exposed it to the sun, " to make the colours blend." The double 
injury inflicted by these two artists was slight, however, when compared 
with the havoc wrought shortly afterwards by the Bolognese, Flaminio 
Torri, who repainted it almost entirely. Mengs also speaks of certain 
scratches made in the process of its transport, and repaired at Dresden.^ 

' Scannelli, Microcosmo della pitlina, j). jiSij, 

2 There is a copy of this child's head, i)crliaiis by Fcderigo I'.arocci, in the Pitti 
Oallery at Florence. ^ Opcrc, ii. p. 166. 


The state to which it had been reduced may be imagined from tlie fact 
that when Pahnaroli was commissioned to remove the over-paints, he 
brought to Hght several cherub heads which had been completely 
hidden. Such a succession of outrages resulted, as may be supposed, 
in the destruction of the original harmonies ; the shadows have been 
robbed of their richness and delicacy, and the figures have become 

harsh and rough in parts, especially the St. Sebastian and the St. 

The so-called S/. Jefonie JMadonna, now one of the chief orna- 
ments of the Parma Gallery, is in a very difterent state.- There 
are no original documents now e.xtant which show in what year it was 

1 The legs and hands of the St. Sebastian are entirely ruined ; the hands of the St. 
tleniinianus have been partly repainted ; St. Roch's face has been retouched, etc. In 
fact, this is one of the most severely handled of all Correggio's works. 

- Some writers have attempted to christen this picture // Gionw (Day), in contrast to 
La Nolle (Night), in the Dresden Gallery. 


interested waited patiently till it should be forgotten to return to the 
charge. Meanwhile the prince died. 

Several years passed, when suddenly a rumour gained ground that 
negotiations for the sale of the picture had been opened afresh 
between the Conte Anguissola, Preceptor of Sant' Antonio, and a 
foreign potentate. Some said the King of Portugal had offered to 
buy it for 40,000 ducats ; others, that the proposed purchaser was the 
King of Poland, and the price agreed upon 14,000 sequins. The 
second version was no doubt the true one. We know, in fact, 
that Augustus III., King of Poland and Elector of Saxony, had 
bought about a hundred famous pictures from the Duke of Modena 
three years before, among which were several by Correggio, and that 
he continued to collect others for his gallery at Dresden. In the un- 
published chronicle of a contemporary writer we read under the date 
of December 5, 1749 : " The picture in Sant' Antonio by the famous 
Correggio has been removed from its place, and deposited in the 
cathedral, that is to say in the Chapter-house ; an event which has 
caused great stupefaction, the picture having been for so many years 
in the hands of the Preceptors of the said church of Sant' Antonio. 
The present Preceptor is Count Anguissola, a native of Piacenza. 
Report says that the matter is approved by supreme authority, and that 
a contract has been made with the King of Poland, who has offered 
14,000 sequins, and 1,000 as a present to the Conte Anguissola, the 
abbot aforesaid. We shall see what befalls in time. At present all is 
kept secret." ^ 

By peremptory order, the picture was removed at the expense of 
the community from the sacristy of Sant' Antonio, placed in a room 
of the Chapter-house with official solemnity,'- and, for greater safety, 
at once walled into a kind of niche. The notaries had meanwhile 
drawn up the deeds relating to it. 

About six years later, in the August of 1756, a French painter, 
who had obtained leave to copy it, proposed to put a glaze upon it, 

1 Sgavetti, Cromca, MSS. in the state archives at Parma, ii. p. 65. 
" Communal archives of Parma. Rngioneria, Ord'niazioni diverse, 1749-50. No. 403. 
Book of ordinary and extraordinary expenditure, etc., 1728-51. 


in order to make a drawing from it more easily. The canons refused 
to allow it ; the painter insisted ; from argument they came to abuse, 
and the painter was turned out of doors without ceremony. He 
appealed to Guillaume Dutillot, prime minister of Don Philip de 
Bourbon, Duke of Parma, who, when the matter had been explained 
to him, promptly ordered the picture to be removed to Colorno.^ The 
priests dislodged it from the walls with much difficulty ; it was put in 
a new frame, secured with four locks, fastened to bars with the help 
of twenty-four grenadiers, and, escorted by two deputies of the 
commune, it left Parma for the prince's villa. 

It had not long been there, when Don Philip determined to place 
it in the gallery of the Accademia. There it remained till 1764, when 
the church of Sant' Antonio was finished, or very nearly so, and the 
Preceptory petitioned for its " restitution to its original destination." 
A letter from Cardinal Pietro Francesco Bussi to Clement XIII. says 
that the Duke declares himself ready to hand over the picture, but at 
the same time expresses "a desire to purchase it. He proposes to 
give a sum of 1,500 zccchini to the Preceptory in compensation, 
together with a further sum for the purchase of a picture in place ot 
the original." The Pontiff, in a mandate of November 28, sanctioned 
the sale of the picture, which was paid for on April 16, 1765, with 
a draft signed by Dutillot." 

Although occasional offers continued to be made from foreign 
countries for its purchase,^ the famous picture seemed at last secure in 
the new gallery, where it was constantly under the public eye. In 
1796, however, the French invaders carried it off with many other 
pictures from Parma to Paris. The unfortunate Francesco Rosaspina, 
who was just about to begin a series of engravings after Correggio, 
wrote on May 19 of this year to the Abate Andrea Mazza: " Unhappily, 
I knew myself to be threatened with the fatal loss of our incomparable 

' Ratti, p. 82 d sei]. Martini, p. 153 et seq. Communal archives of Parma. Rook 
of expenditure from 1751 to 1756. 

2 For the details of this sale, see A. G. Tononi, Corrispondeitza tra il P. Paciandi e 
Mons. Akss. Pisani, vescovo di Piacenza {Aiti c memorie delle R. Dcputazioni di storia patria 
per h provincie modoiesi e parinetisi), series ii. vol. v. p. 378 et seq. Modena, 1888. 

■' In 1772 Frederick the Great offered 25,000 sequins for it. Ratti, p. 82. 


Correggio's unique works ; but I could not credit the rumour, remem- 
bering the close and friendly relations existing between the Court of 
Parma and that of Spain. It seems that the princes have lost all 
power of guiding us, and that they cannot foresee things which those 
of low rank would not fail to perceive and prepare against. And tM 
have to pay the penalty of their folly. I am so overcome that I seem 
to have lost my wits and appetite together! What an irreparable loss 
for Parma! and what ruin for me, whose whole life-work has been 
overthrown ! "' 

The great political changes of the limes pursued their ra[)id 
course, and all began to bow down before the meteoric splendour of 
Napoleon I. Eight years had hardly passed, when all regrets for the 
lost treasure appeared to be swallowed up in the delight with which 
a band of sycophants acclaimed the present of a copy of the picture by 
the Canon Gaetano Tedeschi, offered by Moreau Saint-Mery. The 
professors of the Academy passed a vote of " most hearty thanks 
for the valuable gift " ; they hailed Saint-Mery as a " beneficent 
Maecenas " to whom the liveliest gratitude was due ; they sent a 
deputation to acknowledge the offering, and Count Antonio Bertioli 
addressed him in such a strain that it might have been supposed 
Parma had quite as much reason to rejoice over the copy as Paris 
o\er the original. - 

Happily, the copy only usurped the place of the original for a 
short time. The treaty of 1815 restored the latter to Italy. At the 
end of the year it was brought back to Milan, and early in 1816 
it was restored to Parma, and placed once more in the gallery." 

The X'irgin, in a red robe and blue mantle, is seated under a 
crimson canopy fastened to the branches of trees, and stretched 
across the upper part of the picture diagonally. She supjjorts the 
Babe on her left hand, holding him under the arm with her right, 
a tender smile of quiet happiness just dawning in her face. The 

1 Archives of San Giovanni Evangelista, in the Royal I'alatinc Librar)- at I'arnia. 
I'ortlbho 228. 

- Minutes of tile Accademia di Belle Aiti, ii. [>[>. ^^, 73. 

3 State archives of I'arma, .//// t/e/ Diantciv dclk fuuuizc panncini, 1815 16. !■:. 
Scarabelli Zunti. Op. cit. 


On thn opposite sido, tho Maodalcn, knoelino- on a piece of risino 
ground, leans forward to tlie Infant Jesus, layiuQ- Iier cheek caressingly 
against his leg, and holding his foot as if ,aI)out to kiss it. The 
l!abe lays his little hand lightly on the f lir hair that falls over lh(> 
shoulders of the penitent, a lovely and caressing creature, about whom 
some touch of the coquetry that characterises her moral type is yet 
apparent in the elegance of her attire, and the graceful action with 
which the nervous left hand is bent back to hold up the yellow 

While she thus gives herself up to adoring worship of the Babe, 
a delicious curly-headed urchin behind her, probably the little St. John, 
has taken her jar of ointment, to peep in and smell it, or perhaps to 
stir up the contents. Meanwhile, he looks out of the corner of his 
eye on the saint with a very comic grimace, lest she should turn 
suddenly and reprove his curiosity. 

In the background lies a broad valley, in which some little figures 
appear, and a group of houses, a water-course, an arch with double 
columns, and, in the distance, a high mountain, overhung with streaks 
of dark, vaporous cloud. Its outline is that of Monte Dosso, as 
seen from Parma. Perhaps the arch to the left may represent one of 
the city gates, and the water-course its river. 

The picture we have now described is justly celebrated as one of the 
finest productions not only of Correggio, but of Italian art. The whole 
composition is radiant, palpitating, living ; the conception is marked by 
the most perfect originality and independence. In the foreshortening 
of the Magdalen's face, and the pose of her feet and hands, the artist 
makes an absolutely new departure. 

The technical result is obtained by a series of glazes, and the 
superposal of one light tone upon another. The master shortened one 
of St. Jerome's fingers, and increased the size of the Virgin's great 
toe, and rather than impair the transparency of the colour, he has 
allowed these corrections to proclaim themselves without disguise. 
An infinity of delicate reflections penetrates the shadows, through 

1 There is a drawing of the Magdalen's head in the Vienna Museum, a poor and ugly 


which the air appears to circulate freely. But for this quality in 
the execution, the luminous central group, in which the heads and 
hands of the Virgin and the Magdalen are brought into close con- 
tact with the little body of the Child, would have become a mere 
mass of flesh, without any relief whereas now everything is dis- 
tinctl)' brought out by the diaphanous tones that define the various 
objects. The Magdalen's right hand and the leg of the Child 
seem almost to project from the picture. The wonderful variety 
of colour and motive throughout is so remarkable that it seems as if 
the painter had been at special pains to emphasise it. The hair, 
painted in the manner Vasari never tires of praising as marvellous in 
its minute and careful rendering, varies both in growth and colour on 
every head. The chestnut locks of the little St. John curl thickly ; 
the Magdalen's long fair hair flows in a rippling stream over her 
shoulders; the Virgin's brown tresses are parted under a kerchief, 
while the Child's wave in soft tendrils about his forehead ; the angel's 
blonde curls are darker in tone than the Magdalen's, and St. Jerome's 
white locks cluster luxuriantly about his noble head. 

Vasari speaks of this altar-piece as " coloured in such a marvellous 
and stupendous manner, that painters admire its colour as miraculous, 
and it is scarcely possible to paint better." ^ Francesco Algarotti 
makes the following admission : " May Raphael's divine genius pardon 
me, if, when gazing at this picture, I break faith with him, and am 
tempted to say in secret to Correggio : ' Thou alone canst please 
me ! ' " 2 The enthusiasm of past generations, of which we have given 
some few samples, is shared by many modern critics. Burckhardt, for 
instance, speaks of this picture as a marvel of colour and of execution, 
a perfect expression of serene and innocent happiness. He praises the 
exquisite beauty of the Magdalen, and says that the gesture with 
which she prostrates herself before the Infant Saviour is unsurpassed 
in its suggestion of feminine grace." 

Another picture, hardly less famous than this, was carried with it 

to Paris in 1796, and restored to the Royal Gallery of Parma in 1S16. 

This was the Holy Family, known as the Madonna dclla Scodclla 

' Viti\ iv. ]). 114. " Bottaii, Ldlcrc artistichc, vii. p. 419. •'' /(■ Cica-oiic, p. 715. 


•'■I'lIE Nr.\T>0\\.\ DF.I.T.A SCOl )[:i,L.\ " ;S:; 

(The \'irgin witli the Cup). On llic lower part of its wonderful 
architectonic frame is the following inscription : — 


Arm; comvxi aere erectokios devoti 


Die II. ivxii. 

Strange to say, there are no documents of any sort relating to this 
picture. The agreement and the receipt for payment ha\'e alike 
disappeared. Pungileoni, relying on a document in the archives of 
San Salvatorc, described it as painted aboii/ 1527-28.^ The paper 
further states : "It is said to have been paid for by the offerings 
of several contributors." The anonymous chronicler thus advances 
as a hypothesis what is stated as a fact in the inscription reproduced 
above. He adds that the tradition was borne out by the will of 
Cristoforo Bondini, who in 1524 bequeathed a sum of fifteen imperial 
/ire towards the purchase, and concludes with the statement that the 
inscription on the frame " is dated June 19, 1530," whereas, as a fact, 
the date is June 2. 

The writer quoted by Pungileoni, is not only late, but inaccurate ; 
yet nearly all Correggio's biographers have adopted his dates ; some, 
indeed, have fi.xed one still earlier. Meyer accepts 1527-28;- 
Madame Mignaty pronounces for 1526.'' In fact this, one of 
Correggio's most mature works, has almost come to be regarded as a 
picture of his first period ! We do not, on the other hand, agree with 
Tiraboschi ^ and Baistrocchi,-"' who give 1530 as the date of its 
execution. It is clear that the picture was installed on June 2 of that 
year, and as this installation was not deferred until the feast of St. 
Joseph, or that of the Virgin, we may conclude that it took place 
directly the picture was completed and fixed into its frame. We are 
therefore of opinion that Correggio was at work upon it in 1529, and 
during the first months of 1530. 

1 Oj>. cit. ii. p. 198. - Correggio, p. 311. 

^ La vita e le opere del Correggio, p. 311. ' Op. cit. vi. p. 270. 

"■> Vite if artisti in the Miscellanea of the Palatine Library, no. 1106, already quoted. 


It remained in its original place over the first altar to the left in 
thi> church of the Holy Sepulchre at Parma, escaping- the \arious 
attempts that were made to sell it and carry it off. In 1754, a friar 
of the Barefooted Carmelites wrote to the sacristan, saying that he 
knew of a purchaser for the picture. The sacristan replied that 
the abbot was inclined to sell it, but that the consent of the Infante 
must first be obtained. Discussing the price, he refers to other offers 
that had been made ; among them one of 30,000 filippi, from the 
General di Braon, one of 600,000 Parmesan lire from the Senator 
Barbieri, and one of 20,000 zccchini from the priest Bianconi, rector 
of a church at Bologna.^ The Carmelite's negotiations were pro- 
tracted until the close of 1756; they then seem to have miscarried, 
and we hear no more of him.- 

We do not doubt that the frame, from which the picture was 
removed in 1796, and in which it was replaced in 1893, ^'^^ designed 
by Correggio. Such an artist would not have entrusted the ornament 
that was to enclose his exquisite work to the taste of a carver and 
gilder. Other artists of lower rank than Correggio were careful to 
give their own designs for the frames of altar-pieces, and even for the 
altars they were to adorn. Girolamo Mazzola-Bedoli delighted in 
work of this kind. On the frame of the Madonna dclla Scodclla, 
especially in the frieze, we find the decorative motives Correggio 
affected, such as sea-shells, cornucopias, skulls, and cherubs' heads, all 
of which he introduced in the ornament of his frescoes in the Camera 
di San Paolo, and in the cathedral. 

It is not exactly known who carved it. The style of the execution, 
and the date, suggest the name of Gian Francesco Zucchi, who 
carved the frame for the Conception at about this time, in the same 
style, putting the same plaster preparation on the wood, and gilding it 
in the same manner. 

Many writers have supposed, and still suppose, that the picture 
represents an episode of the Flight into Egypt, whereas it really 
deals with an incident of the Return from Egypt. The Babe is no 

' I'.ianconi also bought iiictiires for Augustus III. 
' Tiraboschi, vi. ])p. 270-271. 

M/adonna delta Scodcl/a. 

"Tin: MADOXXA DllLLA SCOl )1:LLA " 287 

lunger in his first infancy, and St. Joseph and the mother are cahn and 
cheerful, as if they had no further cause for fear or anxiety. .ScannelH 
was perhaps the first who grasped the real significance of the compo- 
sition : the picture, he says, "shows how the Blessed Virgin returned 
with the youthful Jesus and St. Joseph to Nazareth from Egypt, whither 
they had fled from the persecution of Herod, and how, halting on their 
way in an open plain, in which was a palm-tree, with dates, the good 
St. Joseph gathered some of the fruit to satisfy the hunger of the Holy 
Child." 1 

The subject of this work, which Vasari Ccdls a " divine jjicture with 
marvellous figures," - is taken from one of the apocryphal gospels, 
which relates how, when the Holy Child and his parents were ex- 
hausted with their journey, a palm-tree bent down to offer its fruit, 
while from the parched ground at their feet a limpid fountain gushed 
forth. '^ 

From the pleasing and gracious elements of this legend the painter 
has evolved one of the sweetest of familiar episodes, giving life and 
reality to the fanciful scene. 

Against the penumbra of a quiet copse, the three figures of the 
Virgin, St. Joseph, and the Infant Jesus stand out, as if illuminated by 
the cheerful rays of spring sunshine. The legend says that the palm 
bowed itself spontaneously, but the painter has represented the branches 
as bent by a band of cherubs, who fiutter down on vaporous clouds, and 
busy themselves in the upper part of the picture, or press upon the 
boughs and pull them down. Their fair curls are stirred by the 
air and movement, their carnations are exquisitely soft and blooming, 
the parts in shadow relieved by the most delicate reflections. Of one 
among them, only part of the face is visible, I)ut the sparkling 
eyes give it extraordinary vivacity. It may be that the cleaning the 
picture has undergone has robbed it of some of its more delicate tints, 
for the legs of the two angels whose backs are turned to the 
spectator are somewhat confused in line. Only after prolonged 

1 11 MUnxosmo, p. 275. - /'//<•, vi. p. 472. 

^ De Infantia Salratoris Codex apiKryp/ius Novi Testatnenti collectns a I. A. Fabricio, 
Hamburgi, i. p. 183. Meyer, p. 203 et seq. G. Frizzoni, La Madonna della Sohhlla del 
Ciirregi^ii), in the Archivio slorico dell' arte, year vii. p. 292 et seq. Rome, 1S94. 


scrutiny do we discover that the right leg of the blue-winged 
angel passes under the left leg of his companion, who has thrown 
himself backwards. The clouds, too, have been stripped ol the 
transparent glazing wdiich gave them their pearly tone, and are now 
so blue as to be slightly out of harmony. 

St. Joseph, who holds the sword-like foliage of the palm in his 
uplifted left hand, advances with a long striding step to the Infant 
Jesus, offering the Child the dates he has plucked. His expression is 
one of cheerful satisfaction ; as Meyer happily remarks, he has entirely 
lost the air of subdued and mournful humility generally ascribed to him ; 
he seems not only to rejoice in his release from a dubious position, 
but to have laid aside his role of passive spectator, and, for the tirst 
time, to be associated with the two whose importance as a rule so 
greatly eclipses his own, and to receive his share of the angelic homage. 

From the artistic side this handsome old man recalls the Apostles 
in the cupola of the cathedral, both in the sobriety with which the nude 
parts of his body are treated, and in the e.xaggerated convolutions of 
his blue robe and orange mantle. 

Jesus, a little boy of from four to five years old, tall, slim, and 
graceful, with soft fair curls waving on his neck, leans against the 
Virgin's shoulder.^ Laying his right hand on that of St. Joseph to take 
the dates — an action which produces a fine eft'ect of contrast in the 
ilesh-tones — he leans back to his mother to ask for water, pointing at 
the cup she holds out to a flower-crowned boy, the genius of the 
miraculous spring. She lays her left hand on the yellow veil about 
her shoulders to prevent it from slipping off, and draws its transparent 
folds, through which her crimson robe is visible, more closely about 
her. This instincti\e by-play by no means diverts her attention from 
the Child, at whom she gazes with a gentle inclination of the head and 
a smile of such infinite sweetness as to awaken the deepest sympathies 
of the spectator. 

In the background, behind .St. Joseph, an angel, whose figure is 
illuminated by the sunshine, ties the ass to the stump of a tree. 

' TIktc is ail old copy of tlic head of the Child in the Muiiieiiial Gallery at \'erona, 
where it is described as an original i)icture by C'orreggio. 

" LA NOI'Ti: •• 289 

Not only the group of angels above, but the part of the Virgin's face 
which is in shadow, the back of the Child, and the legs of St. Joseph, 
bear the traces of over-cleaning. It is perfectly untrue, however, that 
the picture " was ruined " by a .Spanish apprentice, who, having obtained 
leave to copy it, " wa.shed it in so barbarous a fashion that he left 
scarcely an\- paint on the panel." ^ Mengs partially cleaned it, but 
with the utmost care." 

On the whole, indeed, taking into account the vicissitudes under- 
gone by most of Corregglo's works, the condition of the picture is 
unusually satisfactory. The perfect harmony of the tones has been 
disturbed to a certain extent ; but the enamelled colour has still an 
enchanting splendour and transparence. " The magic effect of the 
sunshine in the mysterious forest glade," says Burckhardt, " the love- 
liness ot the heads, the magnificent colour, and the indescribable splen- 
dour of the whole, make this work one of the painter's masterpieces.' 

The two great altar-pieces we are now about to describe are in the 
Dresden Gallery, to which they passed with other pictures sold by the 
Duke of Modena to Augustus III., as already mentioned. 

Tlie A^a/ivify, so well known as Correggio's Nolle, was also 
suggested by a passage in one of the apocryphal gospels, which 
relates how .St. Joseph, entering the stable at Bethlehem, saw the 
new-born Child shining with a supernatural radiance, which lighted 
up the figure of his mother. 

All the figures grouped round the Babe are illuminated by the 
rays from his body, which beams in the midst like a star. Even the 
angels above reflect this radiance. In his Nalivily, painted for the 
Carthusian monastery of San RIartino at Naples, Guido Reni, 
imitating Correggio without perceiving the spiritual and pictorial 
significance of this concentration, represented the glory of angels 
as receiving their light from heaven, though he illuminated the 
worshipping shepherds by the radiance of the Child. 

In Correggio's picture, the stable is built among the ruins of some 
ancient house or temple ; the Child lies in a manger roughly made of 
wood, on a bundle of straw and corn-cars. The foreshortened upper 
part of his luminous little body is swathed in a white linen cloth. 

' G. N. d'Azarn, note to McngH, ii. p. 155. - Ratti, ]j. So. ^ Op. et Inc. cif. 


The Virgin kneels beside him, gazing at him with smiling rapture, 
and gathering him gently into the circle of her arms. Over her 
soft blue under-dress she wears a crimson robe and deep blue mantle. 
The Infant God and his mother form the radiant nucleus of the pic- 
ture, and seem transfigured by a common glory, "as befits their 
ardent love." Three figures are placed in front of them to the left, 
and a dog, whose head only is illuminated, looks up from below. 
The figure nearest to the manger in this group is a youthful shep- 
herdess, who stands against a column. With her right hand she holds 
a basket, out of which two goslings peer at the Child. Her left 
hantl she raises to shade her eyes from the dazzling light, which 
forces her to lower her eyelids, and contract the muscles of her 
face — a realistic action, yet so instinct with grace, that the beauty of 
her features is by no means impaired. Close beside her a youthful 
shepherd kneels; he turns, with an impulsive movement which has 
given the painter an opportunity for a very effective play of lights 
and shadows, to an old man with unkempt hair and beard, who wears 
a short tunic of dull red, and is in the act of raising his right hand to 
take off his cap ; in his left he grasps a heavy staff. The three converse 
together in awe of the glorious event. Among the clouds above 
hovers a group of five angels, illuminated by the light which 
reaches them from the Babe, but less brilliantly than the figures 
below. Mengs and others suppose this to indicate that they are 
spirits, and not corporeal beings. A painter of the Renaissance is 
scarcely likely to have been so far imbued with mediaeval meta- 
physics. Correggio's main concern v/as with the pictorial effect, which 
demanded a strong chiaroscuro in the figures of the shepherds, that 
is to say, in the central part of the picture, and not in the angels above. 
We know that sentimental minds dislike this " materialisation " of 
impressions ; but honest criticism should be proof against the seduc- 
tions of academic mysticism, more especially in the case of an artist 
like Correggio, whose greatness needs not the foreign aid of theology 
and metaphysics. 

In boldness of foreshortening and animation of action these angels 
are closely allied to those in the cupola of the cathedral. Three of 
them gaze with joyful smiles at the Infant Jesus ; the other two, who 

the British Mu 

" LA NOTTE" 291 

seem to invite the shepherds to worship him, arc more vivacious. One, 
who is robed in red, and faces the spectator, advances, clasping- his 
hands in prayer ; the other, in a green mantle, who is seen from behind, 
draws up one leg, and extends the other, opening his arms, and de- 
scribing a semicircle in his (light, as he looks down on the shepherds 
behind him. 

On the ground there are great blocks of stones, forming steps, and 
tall plants, all paintc'd in greenish tones, and shrouded in a penumbni 
full of delicate reflections. An admirable relief is given by the lumi- 
nous ray, which, passing between the Virgin's arms, glances on her 
robe and mantle near one knee, and the lights, which follow the 
outline of the old man's figure, and, striking off towards the ground, 
define a kind of side scene which marks the distance between the 
two groups of figures. 

Behind the chief group, in the middle distance, St. Joseph endeav- 
ours to draw away the ass from the manger to the barrier, beyond 
which arc two other shepherds with an ox. Against the horizon 
stretches a long line of blue hills, and the sky above brightens with 
the first faint radiance of dawn. 

It cannot be denied that something has been lost of the original 
l)rilliance and vivacity of this picture. The shadows have darkened, 
the azures have suffered, the flesh-tones, robbed of their delicate glaz- 
ings, have become slightly monotonous. We might point out yet 
other traces left by the restorer and the cleaner ; added to which, the 
varnish has perished. These various causes detract, of course, from 
the general effect of a work ^ which so delighted V'asari that he de- 
clared the angels seemed rather to have " fallen in a shower from 
heaven, than to have been fashioned by a painter's hand," '-' and 
moved Scannelli to one of the magniloquent fiights dear to the 
rhetorician of the seventeenth century.'' 

1 The effect of this picture and of others by Corroggio at Dresden is also greatly 
injured by the crowded state of the Gallery, and the strong red of the wall on which 
they are hung. The works of this master and his scholars would show to greater ad- 
vantage in a room by themselves, against a dark gray background. " Viie, iv. p. 117. 

3 Op. at. p. 295. See also G. von Buquoy, IVork der Jjegeiskrinig vor der Nacht des 
Ccrrcggio, 1825. For supposed studies for the picture, see Meyer, p. 30S ct scq. There 
is an important drawing, freely treated, but with great variety, and very interesting as a 
study of effect, in the P.ritish Museum. The drawing in the Weimar .Museum we do 


This picture was another to which a tradition was attached. 
" Correggio," says an old writer, " desiring to produce an effect of 
night, would not allow his work to be admired save at night-time, or if 


in the day, in a darkened room, lighted by candles ; when thus seen, 
many additional figures of shepherds, women, and animals became 

not believe to be liy ( 'oirc,L,'t;io, It is a later work of the liolo^nese school. There 
is also a study of an an^^el's head in this ninscinn, illuminated from below, which 
some persons mainlain to be a study for /,.; Nolle' 

The Xafivitv 


visible, painted with so imicli art that they seemed to hick nothing 
but Hfe." 1 

The history of La Noftc is a very simple one. Alberto Pratoneri 
ordered it for the altar of his chapel in the church of San Prospero at 
Rcq'gio. The correspondence between him and the painter is pre- 

served in the archives of the State of Modena. " Be it known to all 
that I, Alberto Pratonero, by these words written with my own hand, 
promise to give to Master Antonio of Correggio, painter, two hundred 
and eight pounds of the old Reggian currency, and this, in payment 
of a picture which he promises to paint for me with his utmost skill, 
wherein he is to represent the Nativity of our Lord, with such figures 
' Alfonso Isacchi,AVA?;/,wtw?'<7/,/J/,?,/,w;/,rr//y?,x.w, p. 36. Reggio, 16 19. Ratti, p. 103. 


as pertain to the subject, according to the size and measurements of 
the drawing by his own hand submitted to me by the said Master 
Antonio. At Reggio, on the 14th day of October, mdxxii. On 
the day aforesaid I handed over to him forty pounds of the ancient 
currency, in part payment." 

Beneath this declaration of Pratoncri's, the painter wrote as follows : 
"And I, Antonio Lieto of Correggio, declare that I received the sum 
mentioned on the day and in the year aforesaid, in token of which I 
have written this with my own hand." ' The picture, however, was 
not completed and placed over the altar until eight years later, in 1530, 
as we learn from the inscription by which Alberto and Gabriele 
Pratoneri commemorated the event.- 

Before the sixteenth century had run its course, the Estensi had 
determined to acquire the picture, and had already prepared the way 
for seizing it. We find traces of their designs in a letter written by 
Fulvio Rangoni from Reggio on December 27, 1587, and addressed to 
Alfonso II. 's secretary : "Some time ago died the Cavaliere Pratoneri, 
and shortly after him Messcr Giulio, which two were the owners of 
Correggio's Nativity, now on their altar in the church of San Prospero. 
It has become the property of two minors, and I do not think they 
could agree to its removal, besides which, I do not know how it would 
please the priests, who one and all account the picture a great treasure. 
Nevertheless, I will make every effort to overcome these difficulties, 
and to do your Serene Highness's pleasure, if I see any possible means 
of obtaining it." "^ 

1 Gins. Campori, Rclazimic di tin ai/totiraf,) del Corrci^i^io riiivcnido iiclf anJiivio 
palatino di Modcna {Atti ( iiicmoric ddlc R. Dcpufazioni di s/oria palria per Ic proviiuie 
viodeiicsi e parmcnsi, i. p- 34 ct scij. Modena, 1863). This autograph, whicli was found 
in the books of the Pratoneri family, perhaps came into the hands of Duke Francesco I. 
of Este, together with the picture. See a letter written by Gius. Bigellini to Padre Resta 
in 1688, in Bottari's Raccolta di lettere artistictie, iii. p. 499, and La scrittura di artisii 
italiani riprodotta con la fotograjia da Carlo Pint, e corredata di notizie da Gaefatio 
Milancsi, plate 115. Florence, 1876. 

'^ Alberliis ct Gabriel Prafoncrii liccc de Ilieronynii pareii/is optinii seiite?i/ia fieri 
vidiicnaif an?!, mdxxx. This inscription is affixed to the pilaster to the right of the 
Pratoneri chapel in San Prospero. 

^ Paolo Ottavi, Due /jiiadri del Corrci^i^io, p. iii. Sec also P,. Galclani's Relazione, 
in the Atfi e nieniorie delta R. Deputazioiie di s/oria palria per la Roniapia, year i. ]i. 66. 
Hologna, 1862. 


Rather more than a century later the Esteasi accoinpHshed tlieir 
design, not by the difficult and tedious process of negotiation, but by 
the more expeditious methods of violence and robbery. A contem- 
porary chronicle written in the Libra del dcfnnti of San Prospero 
records that in May, 1640, the picture was sacrilegiously carried off by 
order of Duke Francesco, and taken to Modena, to the inexpressible 
grief of all the citizens.^ 

The Madonna zuiih St. George was originally in the Oratory or 
Sciio/a of St. Peter Martyr at Modena, which was suppressed in 
18S0 and incorporated with the municipal hospital. - 

In the delicate and precious little bistre drawing, heightened with 
white, now, like the picture, in the Dresden Gallery, the architectonic 
frame, with its two Doric columns, is introduced. If, as Mengs ^ and 
Ratti ^ assert, this frame was not of wood, nor of any moulded substance, 
but was painted by Corregglo or one of his pupils on the wall itself, 
Pungileoni's hypothesis gains greatly in probability. He supposed 
the picture to have been finished in 1532, having discovered in 
Lancellotti's chronicle that the oratory was decorated in February 
of that year. This fact agrees sufficiently with the artistic evidences 
of the work itself, to justify us in assuming that the picture was 
painted about 153 i.'' 

1 hat the Brotherhood guarded their treasure jealously may be 
inferred from their refusal to allow a young painter, one Domenico 
Moni, to copy it. They declared they would not again subject it to 
the dangers it had undergone when it had been removed from its place 
to enable Bartolomeo Passarotti and Francesco Madonnina to make 
copies. But all their care availed them nothing against the arbitrary 

1 MS. book of the Deputies of the church of San Prospero di Reggie, from 16 13 to 
1654. Pungileoni (ii. p. 212), transcribing the memorandum, abridges it, out of deference 
for the Estensi, to one of whom he dedicated his work on Correggio. He suppresses 
the words quod sacrikgium Francisci Duds nostri iitssu pci-pctratuin. For the history of 
the picture, see also A. Venturi, R. Galkria esUnse, pp. 226, 305, 318, 346. 

^ L. F. Valdrighi, Aggiunta alk appcndici c note al Dizionario storico itiiiwlogico delle 
contrade e spazi pubblici di Mode/m, \)\). 50-51. Modena, i S93. 

3 Opere, ii. p. 162. ^ Op. cit. p. 94. 

^ Tommasino de' Bianchi, called de' Lancellotti, Cronaca modenese, iii. p. 391. 
Parma, 1S65. "The Brotherhood of the house of God of St. Peter Martyr has had its 
scuola painted, which was rebuilt some few years ago." Pungileoni, i. ji. 217 et seq. ; 
ii. p. 235 et seq. Meyer, pp. 211, 315. 



violence of Francesco I. of Este, who in 1649 removed the picture, 
promising, in compensation, a handsome donation to the fraternity, and 
a copy of the work by Guercino, who took upon himself to alter the 
proportions, in order to allow more ample space for the figures ! 

A quarter of a century before the sale of the picture to Augustus 
III., it was promised by the ambassador of the Estensi at the Court of 

France to Dubois, in 
acknowledgment of his 
services in negotiating 
a marriage between 
Prince Francesco d'Este 
and the Princess Char- 
lotte Agliie of Orleans, 
and perhaps as a bait for 
further political favours. 
But the diplomatist had 
reckoned without his 
host. The Duke op- 
posed the gift most 
energetically, although 
ij the poor envoy, thus 
left in the lurch, hasten- 
ed to point out to his 
master that state inter- 
ests were of greater 
moment than pigments, 
canvas, and a painter's 
lame, and that the safety of Mirandola perhaps depended on the 
|)icture 1 ^ 

The Virgin, in crimson robe and blue mantle, the Child uplifted 
in her arms, is seated on a lofty throne in front of an open arch, 
through which the distant landscape is visible. The Infant turns, 
with outstretched hands and an eager smile, to the group of turreted 


In the Dresden Muse 

' \Liitiin, Calkria akiise, ]i. ayS ,V .f,y. The 
Urcsdcn, and has been restored in |ikices. Of (.'dm 
(iallery it is ihc best preserved on the wliole. 

red m Us journey to 
vorks in the Dresden 

The Madonna luii/i Si. George. 


buildings representing Modena, which St. Geminianus, a command- 
ing figure in episcopal robes, is about to take from the arms of the; 
beautiful angel who carries them, to offer them to Jesus. 

The Virgin, a lovely and blooming young matron, whose abundant 
hair waves over her shoulders, inclines her head towards the opposite 
side, where St. Peter Martyr, pointing to the church of which he is 
patron, appears to be interceding for the faithful.^ In the foreground 
stand St. George and St. John the Baptist. The first, a knightly figure 
with silver cuirass and crimson mantle, has his back to the spectator, 
but turns his head towards 
him. The saint is a heroic 
conception ; his attitude full 
of quiescent power, his face 
of a frank and vigorous cast. 
The large and thoughtful 
eyes, the broad brow, the 
nascent beard, the abundant 
hair, make up a perfect type 
of noble and valiant youth. 
The tranquillity of the pose, 
with left hand laid on hip, 
and right on lance, and foot 
on the dragon's severed 
head, suofo-ests the dormant ''""'' '"^ '"■"^' '"'' '"" "■^''"'~''' ''"" 

°° In the Unizi, Florence. 

Strength ready to leap forth 

in a just quarrel. The painter shows a true artistic judgment in the 
omission of the dragon's fantastic body, which would either have made 
a confused and intricate passage where it was least desirable, or else 
must have been reduced to proportions so insignificant as to destroy all 
its terrors. By painting only the enormous head, the master perfectly 
suggests all the vague horror of the slaughtered monster's bulk. 

St. John the Baptist, his cross in his hand, turns to the spectator, 
pointing out the Virgin and Child. He is represented as a healthy 

' The knife, the instrument of his martyrdom, rests upon his head, hut is ah 
hidden by his hair. The haft of the dagger in his breast is just visible outside 
blaek mantle. 


and comely youth, bending forward in a graceful attitude on his left 
leg, the foot of which rests on the first step of the throne. His 
fur underdress, and crimson mantle, girded round his loins with a 
cord, are loosely draped about his body, leaving his arms and legs 
almost bare. In the conception of this figure there is no hint of 
the traditional asceticism of the harbinger of Christ. He is young, 
jocund, robust ; his smile is that of some sportive faun. 

In front of the throne, four little angels are playing with St. 
George's armour. The one in the centre attempts to draw the sword 
from its sheath ; the two just behind him lift up the helmet to place it 
on the head of the fourth, who, expectant of the burden, supports 
himself on his neighbour's leg, bending his little body with irresistibly 
comic grace. The angel who bears the model of the city of Modena 
observes this by-play with evident amusement. 

Scannelli records a graceful compliment paid by Guido Reni to 
the beauty of these angels. He was accustomed, whenever he met 
a citizen of Modena, to ask him if " Correggio's /^//z'/ at San Pietro 
Martire had grown up, and left their places in the picture where he 
had last seen them, for so vivid and life-like were they that it was 
impossible to believe they could remain in their original form." ^ 

The distribution of light and shade is so masterly, that every figure 
in the somewhat intricate arabesque is clearly and coherently defined. 
This lucidity of general effect in a comjiosition unusually rich in detail 
is due to the transparent quality of the colour, and the sense of space 
and atmosphere conveyed by the painter. Guercino, as we have seen, 
felt it necessary to allow more space for the figures. As may be sup- 
posed, the richness of the architectural setting corresponds to that of 
the figures below. In the angles on either side of the arch, the 
keystone of which is ornamented with a cherub's head, two figures 
of youthful genii are painted in a monochrome of yellow, simulating 
a gold relief They appear from behind festoons of flowers, and, 
caryatid-wise, support a border of interwoven canes, with a Manteg- 
nesque garland of leaves and fruit. 

Behind the arch stretches an open plain, varied by a few trees, a 
few buildings, and beyond, the delicate curve of a distant hill. 
^ Microcosmo, p. 294. 


In this picture, which may be considered the last sacred subject 
painted by Correggio, we note the recurrence of certain motives he 
made use of in his early works, more especially in the Franciscan altar- 
piece of 1 5 15. It is as if the soul of the artist paused for a moment, 
alarmed at the pictorial boldness of his later efforts, with a touch of 
regretful yearn- 
ing for tradition- 
al simplicity. In 
all probability he 
painted the pic- 
ture in Correg- 
gio, whither he 
retired towards 
the end of 1530, 
sorrowing for the 
loss of his wife, 
and disgusted 
with epigrams 
and criticism. 
There, in his 
modest but 
peaceful home, 
surrounded by 
his aged parents, 
his children, his 
fellow - citizens, 
and near his 
early friend, Ve- 
ronica Gambara, his mind soothed and tranquillised by contemplation 
of the broad plains and ample horizons of his native territory, he must 
have felt a desire to infuse something of the calm of soul and place 
into his works, and to return to his old ideals. 

He could not, indeed, retrograde from that breadth of treatment, 
that splendour of colour, and that technical mastery he had attained ; 
but it cannot be denied that this Madonna with St. George differs 
from the other pictures described in this chapter in the greater 

.ving in the Uftizi, Floren 


simplicity of its composition, wliich has something of the old traditional 
symmetry of arrangement. In the arch which opens in the back- 
ground, in the regularity with which the figures are disposed, and 
even in certain details, such as the stool under the Virgin's feet, and 
the little angel in monochrome who supports it, we discern a far-off 
echo of youthful conceptions.^ 

There is a drawing by Correggio in the Uffizi which is un- 
questionably authentic. It represents St. John with the lamb, and 
St. Roch, seated in the foreground, against a background of woody 
landscape ; and standing behind them, St. Agatha, with her breasts 
on a plate, and St. Anthony with his pig at his feet. 

It is not known whether Correggio ever painted a picture with 
these saints. Shortly before his death, however, he engaged to paint 
an altar-piece for Alberto Panciroli of Reggio, and received 
twenty-five gold saidi on account, which his father had to refund 
on June 15, 1534.- 

' There are several drawings at Dresden and Florence of the children who are 
sporting in front of the throne, in particular of the one who draws the sword from the 
sheath. The only one of these drawings which may perhaps be authentic is that in the 
Uffizi, numbered 1 949 F. In the Louvre and at Vienna there are two identical drawings 
of a Madonna and Child, which are supposed to be studies for the picture. They are 
studies for a picture of which there is a complete drawing in the Weimar Museum, 
certainly not by Correggio. In 1847 the Accademia di Belle Arti at Parma pronounced 
a picture of St. George and St. Peter Martyr, then in the possession of Signor Boucheron. 
a professor of painting at Turin, to be a replica of the two saints. It now belongs to 
the lanetti family of Florence. See Carlo Malaspina, Di tin fiuovo difinto ad olio di 
A. A. da Correggio, in the supplement to the Gazzetia di Parma, no. 34, April 28, 1S47, 
and M. Leoni, Belle Arti, in the Indicatore parmense, year i. no. 13, 1847. 

- Tiraboschi, vi. p. 297. Pungileoni, ii. p. 252. 



"ANTIOPE" — "the education of CUPID " — EVENTS IN CORREGGIO — WORKS 



THE majority of Corregglo's 
mythological and allegori- 
cal pictures were painted 
in the last years of his life. Two, 
however, were executed so early 
as 1 52 1 or 1522. These are 
the Edncation of Cupid and the 
j-liitiopc, both of which were in 
the ducal gallery at Mantua until 

In the Invcniojy of this col- 
lection compiled in 1627, the 
Aniiopc is erroneously described 
as Venus, a sleeping Cupid, and 
a Satyr} 
ii. p. 153. 

D'Arco, op. at. 


Antlopc, a life-size nude figure, lies extended on a linen drapery, 
spread over a piece of rising ground, beneath a dense thicket of trees. 

the Royal Library, Winds' 

Her right arm supports her head in such a manner as to show the full 
curve of the neck, shaded by a few stray locks of her fair hair. The 
ample development of the bust is in somewhat curious contrast with 

"ANTIOPE" 303 

the foreshortened legs, which have a slightly shrunken appearance. 
But the difficulties of the pose have been overcome with such novel 
ease and vigour as to excite the admiration of artists in successive 
generations, Rembrandt among the number, and Guercino, who 
imitated the attitude in his Sttsainia/i, now in the Pitti Gallery at 
Florence. The nymph sleeps ; but the warm, soft flesh of her 
superbly modelled body seems to quiver, as if under the influence of 
some voluptuous dream. ^ Antiope, daughter of Nycteus, King of 
Thebes, and the nymph Poly.xo, was famous throughout Greece for 
her beauty and her adventures. Jupiter, desiring to possess her, 
transformed himself into a Satyr. 

Correggio, or the friend who furnished him with the argument 
of his picture, has confused two distinct mythological personalities. 
The bow under Antiope's left hand, and the large quiver, covered 
with hide, in the background, show that he supposed the Antiope 
beloved by Jupiter to have been, not the daughter of Nycteus, 
but her namesake, the Queen of the Amazons, and daughter of 

Jove is not portrayed as a hideous and repulsive Satyr. His 
shaggy legs and goat's feet are counterbalanced by the smiling charm 
of his face and expression. Human comeliness so far predominates in 
his appearance that he might be termed a beautiful monster. Ap- 
proaching the nymph, he raises her linen drapery with both hands, and 
contemplates her fair form with amorous delight. His swarthy skin, 
dappled with transparent shadows, is exquisitely contrasted with the 
brilliant and luminous carnations of Antiope, and of the Cupid 
who slumbers near her, curled up on a lion's skin. The little winged 
god is a plump and blooming cherub ; his sleep, unlike that of his 
companion, is deep and unconscious. His torch has fallen to the 
ground beside him.- 

In 1625, Charles I. of England despatched his music-master, 
Nicholas Laniere, to Italy, to buy pictures for him. Immediately on 

1 There is a very delicate study of the Antiope in the Royal Library at Windsor. 

" A drawing in the Louvre, ascribed to Correggio, rejircsents a naked woman lying 
on the ground, surrounded by cuiiids and children, in an attitude very similar to that of 
the Antiope. 


his arrival, Laniere put himself into communication with one Daniele 
Nys, a picture-dealer, and begged him to procure something for the 
King from the Mantuan collection. Among the letters written by 
Nys to Laniere, there is one dated April 27, 1628, in which he refers 
to his purchase of the greater part of this collection from Vincenzo II. 
Gonzaga, not long before the death of the latter. He adds, that 
when the transaction became known, the citizens took it very ill, and 

protested so vigorously that 
the Duke was alarmed, and 
would have paid double the 
money to be rid of the 
bargain ; but the agreement 
had been made, and it would 
have been neither safe nor 
seemly to play a King of 
England false. The Antiope 
and the Education of Cupid 
were among the pictures 
which Thomas Brown, 
captain of the ship I\Iar- 
i^aret, took to London in 

After the execution of 
Charles I., the Parliament 
ordered his art treasures to 
be sold, and this was accord- 
ingly done on three several occasions, in 1649, 1650, and 1653. The 
Antiope passed into the possession of the banker Jabach, a resident 
in Paris, and a great lover of the arts. Cardinal Mazarin bought 
it from him for twenty-five thousand francs ; on the death of the 
cardinal, it was acquired by Louis XIV., and is now in the Louvre. 
The history of the Education of Cupid is identical with that of 

1 Noel Saintslniry, Ori;^iiittl unpuhlislini papers illustrative of tlie life of Sir Peter 
Paul Rubens as an artist and diplomatist, p. 28S et seq. London, 1859. Meyer, 
pp. 236 and 337. 


the ^-liiiiopc, clown to the time of the dispersal of Charles I. 's collections. 
It was in the Duke of Mantua's gallery, and figures in the Inventory 
of 1627.^ It then became the property of the King of England, and 
at the sale of his pictures, was bought for ^40 by the Duke of Alva, 
and taken to Spain. It afterwards belonged to Godoy. Prince of the 
Peace, who sold his collection in 1S08, during the French occupation 
of Madrid, and was then acquired by Murat, who brought it back to 
Italy and placed it in the royal palace at Naples. The travels of the 
unfortunate picture, which had been bandied about from one collection 
to another for two centuries, were not yet over. Caroline Bonaparte, 
ex-Oueen of Naples, took it to Vienna, and sold it in 1834 to the 
Marquis of Londonderry, from whom it was finally purchased by the 
English Government, together with the Eccc Homo already described, 
and other pictures. - 

The lapse of time, its innumerable journeys, and various restorations 
of a not very felicitous kind, have robbed the picture of its original 
brilliance, but the painter's intention is still evident. He aimed at the 
luminous effect to be won from the juxtaposition of the pearly carnations 
and the opaque tones of the forest background, a dense grove, through 
which not the smallest streak of sky is visible. Venus stands upright, 
her arm resting on a projecting branch, a bow in her hand, and looks 
straight out of the picture. Her form is finely moulded, but her face 
has little of the seductive beauty proper to the Queen of Love. The 
painter's ideal type was not yet attained, and his Venus differs but very 
slightly from the Madonnas of the Prado and Hampton Court, the 
Diana of the Camera di San Paolo, and, as far as we can judge by the 
copies, the Albinea Madonna. The technique, however, shows a 
higher stage of development, a deeper sensibility, and suggests that 

1 D'Arco, op. at. p. 153. At a Liter date there was a copy of the picture in the 
gallery of Gonzaga of Novellara, attributed to Parmigianino. I'his was perhaps one of 
the pictures confided to Alessandro Gonzaga by the Lords of Correggio in 1636 (see 
letters of the Prince of Correggio, in the communal archives at Novellara, and G. Campori, 
Cataloghi cd inraitari, already quoted, p. 639), and may have been the one which 
afterwards belonged to the Odescalchi and the Duke of Orleans (Mengs, ii. p. 150; 
Tiraboschi, vi. p. 279). 

2 Mengs, ii. p. 178; INIeyer, pp. 238 and 340; Sir F. W. Burton, Ca/a!ogiic, p. 5; 
M. Compton Hcaton, p. Ci ; Frizzoni, Aiie italiana, p. 357, etc. 


the picture was painted at a later date than the above, probably about 
[522, as has been generally supposed. A very peculiar feature of the 
work is the pair of wings with which the painter has endowed his 
Venus, perhaps to give a touch of divinity to her figure, perhaps in 
allusion to her fabled origin. The same peculiarity distinguishes his 
Fates in the Camera di San Paolo. 

Mercury, nude but for the little cloak which falls from his shoulders, 
his winged sandals, and his hat, is seated opposite. Me holds a scroll 
which lies over his knee with his left hand, presenting it to the infant 
Cupid, who cons his task attentively. 

We are present, apparently, at a little domestic incident of that 
happy interlude when Mercury found favour with the goddess, and 
made her the mother of Hermaphroditus. Cupid could not have found 
a better master ! But it is not to be supposed that his teacher in- 
structed him in any of the lofty sciences of which he was the inventor. 
The mischievous god had little time for abstruse studies. At most he 
may have lingered to read some pleasant fable, for Mercury, as we 
know, was credited with the invention of the apologue. The arts most 
skilfully taught by the master, and most aptly learnt by the scholar, 
were, no doubt, agility, dexterity, and craft. 

Mercury is represented as a youth, but, like the Graces in the 
Camera di San Paolo, he is robust and muscular. He has none of the 
classic slenderness of mould by which the ancients symbolised his 
switt and airy flight. Yet this vigour is not incompatible with grace, 
as is shown by the inclination of his smiling head to the little scholar 
at his knee.^ 

The Cupid, with his budding wings and fair curls, is the most 
dainty passage in the composition. The attitude in which he has 
placed himself to read is delicious. To bring his eyes nearer to the 
scroll, he bends his knees slightly, and, with comic intentness, follows 
the letters with the finger of his right hand. 

Mengs gracefully describes the work as follows : " The Cupid's 
curling hair is so marvellously rendered that we seem to be able to see 
the skin through it, and in spite of this finish, there is no dryness in 
' Thcri; is a small sludy for tlic head of Mercury in the Uftizi. 


the treatment. His little wings are like those of newly-fledged 
chickens, which show the growth of the sprouting quills and the 
skin below. Whenever Correggio painted wings he showed the same 
mastery in their treatment, placing them immediately behind the 
shoulders, and incorporating them so naturally with the flesh that they 
seem to form part of the acromion. The late Duke, who owned the 
picture, once very justly remarked to me that this Cupitl's wings were 
so skilfully placed, that were it possible for a child to beborn with 
wings, they would grow exactly in such a manner." 

The frescoes of the Camera di San Paolo, Autiopi\ and the 
Ediicatiou of Cupid, are the only surviving mythological subjects 
painted by Correggio before he undertook the frescoes in the cathe- 
dral. All the others were executed after 1530, and consequently 
at Correggio, after he had quitted Parma for reasons to which we 
have already alluded. 

No traces of his presence in Parma after 1530 are to be found 
in any documents, whereas there are many which attest his activity in 
his native city. On November 30, 1530, he signed a deed of purchase, 
by which he took over a f;irm from one Lucrezia Pusterla, of Mantua, 
widow of Giovanni Cattanio, at a price of 195 satdi, 10 so/di.^ 
In the autumn of 1532, and in the first months of 1533, he acted 
as witness to several law documents. In September of the same year 
he bought a piece of land.- Finally, on January 24, 1534, he witnessed 
the marriage settlement of Chiara da Correggio, who was about to 
become the wife of a son of \'eronica Gambara.^ No doubt he was 
occasionally absent from Correggio in the intervals, either to look after 
his interests in Parma, or to visit Modena, for which city he was 
painting the altar-piece of St. Peter Martyr, or on similar errands. All 
we contend is that Correggio was his home during the last three years 
of his life, and that there he brought his young children to place 
them imder the care of their grandparents. He had now many ties 
there, his original possessions having considerably increased. He 

Pungileoni, ii. p. 231. 

M. A. Mignnty, p. 393. 


Pungileoni, i. p. 247 ; ii 

■ p. -^51- 


found solace in the affectionate friendship of the ruling family, and 

more especially in the kindness of Veronica Gambara, and it seems 
more than probable that he was also detained by some premonition of 


coming disaster, in which he would need the care of his family, anil 
the benefit of his native air. 

Nearly three years passed away thus, during which he spent many 
quiet and happy hours, occupied with his work and family affairs. The 
history of the state, meanwhile, was not so uneventful. Indeed, the 
vicissitudes through which the little city passed in this short space of 
time were strangely important and dramatic, taking into account the 
narrow limits of the stage. ^ 

In May, 1531, much excitement was caused in the Allegri family 
by the strange death of Paolo Brunorio's wife. .She had been living 
quietly in Modena ; her husband suddenly brought her to Correggio, 
and there abandoned her, retiring himself to Roccabianca. A rapid 
and mysterious malady attacked the poor woman, to which she speedily 
succumbed. This event had a certain connection with the hasty 
arrival at Correggio of Don Pietro Zappata, imperial governor of 

A calamity of a more general nature was to befall the city a few days 
later. On June 27, the Spanish army, commanded by the Marchese 
del Vasto, arrived in sight of Modena. The general immediately 
announced his intention of quartering his troops on Correggio and the 
neighbouring cities. He had with him some fifteen thousand soldiers, 
or rather brigands, followed by some two thousand women of the lowest 
class. All Gian Francesco da Correggio's efforts failed to avert the 
threatened danger, and the majority of the troops with their leaders 
established themselves in his territory. The imperial governor made 
various compacts with the Marchese del Vasto in the hope of saving 
the district ; but very soon the supply of wine was exhausted, and 
the bread began to fail. The bakers of Modena at first refused to 
send any help ; after a time, however, they yielded, partly to promises 
and partly to intimidation, the soldiers threatening to descend upon 
their city. As to lodging, the warm weather enabled the marauders 
to camp under the arcades and porticoes of Correggio. The chronicler 
describes them as herding together under these shelters " like cattle." 
They were determined, however, to spend their time as merrily as 
' Lancellotti, Cronaca, iii. pp. 246, 260, 362 ; iv. pp. 32, 38, etc. 


might be. Sports and feasts, and savage revelry followed in quick 
succession, to the exhaustion of the city and its dependencies. 

In July, a terrible and unseemly duel was fought by Ser Gonzales 
de Villena de Mandria and Ferdinando de Valle de Alba, at San 
Martino, an outlying village of Correggio. Curiosity and expectation 
were so widespread before the event, that some thousands of persons 
assembled on the appointed day, many of them coming from Modena 
and Bologna. Gonzales was the victor, and was carried in triumph 
among the soldiery, followed by children bearing green branches, and 
an applauding crowd. No more repulsive mode of vanquishing a foe 
could well be imagined. He overthrew his adversary by butting at 
him with his head, and, getting him on the ground, bit off his nose, 
and filled his eyes and mouth with dust. The Marchese del Vasto 
was present, and applauded the victor. Fresh orgies followed the 
announcement of the birth of a son to the IMarchese, to the further 
injury of the exhausted country and the distraction of Veronica 
Gambara. The chronicler notes the festivities in these words : " They 
feast and rejoice, because they are eating our substance ; if it were 
their own, they would not make such great banquets." 

Shortly afterwards, the Marchese del Vasto went into the Neapol- 
itan territory to see his wife and his heir. The soldiery, throwing 
off even the semblance of discipline which had restrained them a little 
in his presence, began to sack the houses in the city and villages. 
In September they prepared to celebrate the return of their captain 
with another duel. Pirro Colonna and the Sforza, who were to take 
part in it, arrived at Correggio. A multitude assembled from all 
parts, as before. But the Marchese's return was delayed, everything 
was put off, and the combatants departed. 

He arrived on October 2, and remained some two months longer 
in the wretched city. On November 23 he departed, amidst general 
thanksgivings, and proceeded to Borgo San Donnino v.ith the artillery, 
the rest cf the army following the next day. 

in July, 1532, Veronica's Court was visited by Cardinal de' Medici, 
and in December by the Emperor Charles V.^ The cost of these 
' Cfonaca, above quoted, i\'. pp. 3.S and 125. 


visitors was by no means trilling; but they were more cheerfully 
borne, as incurred in maintaining the dignity of the state, and enter- 
taining those who came " with friendly faces." 

But we must return to our painter and his works. The testimony 
of Vasari, who perhaps owed his information to Giulio Romano, and 
certain letters recently published by Baghirolli, tend to prove that in his 
last years he worked almost e.xclusively for Federigo II. (Gonzaga). 

Referring to certain pictures the Duke commissioned Correggio to 
paint, " to send to the Emperor," Vasari confuses the facts and state- 
ments connected with three works, and reduces their number to two. 

These are the Aretine biographer's words: "One was a nude 
Lcda, the other a I'ciiiis, the carnations so mellow in colour, and so 
delicately shaded, that they seemed to be the flesh itself, rather than 
paint. In one there was a marvellous landscape ; never was Lombard 
who excelled him in such things ; besides this, the hair was so beauti- 
ful in colour, and so elaborately and delicately treated, that nothing 
better could be beheld. In the picture were also some Cupids, trying 
their arrows on a touchstone, to see which were gold and which lead, 
all very skilfully rendered ; and a further charm was given to the 
rcnits by a clear and limpid stream of water, flowing among stones 
and bathing her feet." ^ 

Vasari's description applies partly to the Lcda, partly to the lo (he 
calls her Venus), at whose feet a stream of water flows among stones ; 
it also contains an allusion to the Daii'dc, in the passage which refers to 
the Cupids testing their arrows. 

There is every reason to believe that these three pictures were 
painted for Gonzaga, and presented by him to Charles V. Vasari 
was in a position to know the facts ; we are not in a position to dis- 
pute them. It is also to be noted that we first hear of their existence 
in Spain. 

Lomazzo, in his Trattato dclP arte dclla pittura^- says that the lo 

and the Dandc, which were in Milan in his time, in the possession of 

the sculptor, Leone Leoni, had been sent him from Spain by his son 

Pompeo. He says that " the light in these was so brilliant, that no 

1 Vite, iv. \>. 115. - 1'. 212. Milan, 1584. 


Other painter could have equalled their colour and illumination," and 
this eulogy he repeated in verse, exaggerating it a little, of course.^ 

While in Spain, Leone Leoni had enjoyed the favour and patron- 
age of Charles V. and Philip II., and had executed several works for 
them which had been very highly praised. His son Pompeo, follow- 
ing his father's counsel and example, settled there. He in his turn 
was patronised by Philip, and employed in various important under- 
takings. He died in Spain in 1610.- Meyer says it is uncertain 
whether he received the two pictures as a gift from the sovereign, or 
bought them at the sale of the Perez collection, as Urlichs supposed.^ 
The question is not of much interest, and moreover, it seems to us to 
be settled by the dates. Perez, Secretary of State, and favourite of 
Philip II., fell into disgrace in 1579. Six years later, that is to say 
in 1585, having a heavy fine to pay, he resigned himself to the sale 
of his collection, part of which was sequestrated and declared forfeit 
to the Crown. Now Lomazzo's work, which speaks of the lo 
and the Danlie as in Milan, had been published a year before this date, 
and if we consider how long it took in those days to transport such 
things as pictures from Madrid to Italy, and further, of the time it 
must have taken Lomazzo to write, and Paolo Gottardo Ponzio to 
print the Trattato dclla pittiira,'^ it will be evident that Pompeo Leoni 
must have acquired the two pictures some time before the sale of 
Perez' collection. The more probable hypothesis seems therefore to 
be that they were given to the Italian sculptor by Philip II., in 
graceful recognition of some work executed by the former. 

In 1600, Count Khevcnhiller, who worked most energetically 
to increase the collection of pictures acquired by the Emperor 
Rudolph (a passionate lover of the arts, as of the occult sciences of 

' Rime, p. 98. Milan, 15S7. 

- Vasari, vii. p. 535 et seq. Les .ir/s ita/ieiis en Espagne. Rome, 1S25. Two studies 
on Leoni have been published within the last few years, one by Carlo Casati (Milan, 
1884) and another by Carlo dell' Acqua {Arc/iiv. storico de/l' ark, ii. p. 73). The latter 
shows that this artist was a native, not of Arezzo, but of Menaggio. 

^ Correggio, p. 344 et seq. L. Urlichs, Beitriige sur Geschkhte der Kunstbeslrelningen 
und Sammlungen Kaiser Jiudo/f's II. {Zeitschrift fiir bildetide Kunst, p. 83, 1870). 

■" A letter by D. Satuio de Gebara, published at the beginning of the Trattato, 
expressly states that it was written in 1582. 

WORKS uoucirr t'Or rudolimi it 313 

astrology and alchemy), approached Leoni in the hope of obtaining 
the two pictures. The negotiation was somewhat prolonged, but at 
last a bargain was struck, and they were removed to Prague. Up to 
this point, the history of the lo and of the Daiuic is identical ; but their 
after fortunes differed, as we shall see. 

When Khevenhiller was at Madrid as Rudolph's ambassador in 
15S5, he cast a longing eye uj)on two works in the Perez collection, 
Cupid forging the Boiv, by Parmigianino, and a Gaiiyiiicdc, which at the 
time was attributed to the same master. When (15S7) his sovereign 
authorised the purchase of these pictures, however, they had been 
already seized by the Crown, and he had to content himself with certain 
copies. One of these, after Correggio's lo, is the remarkable work now 
at Berlin. As may be supposed, he was not content with this modest 
speculation. Partly by innjortunities, partly by intrigue, he succeeded 
in obtaining the coveted pictures, and sent them off to Prague, to- 
gether with some others, among them the Lcda, the King first ordering 
this and the Ganymede to be copied by the Spanish painter, Eugenio 

The pictures thus brought together were not destined to remain 
very long in Prague. 

In the Inventory of the imperial treasure and artistic'collections of 
the city, compiled in 162 i, neither the lo nor the Ganymede is men- 
tioned. Both had probably passed to Vienna, where we find them 
in 1702. Apostolo Zeno seems to make some vague allusion to their 
presence there in 1724,^ and they are still preserved in the Belvedere. 

The Dande, the Leda, and the copy of the lo, which had remained 
in Prague, formed part of the booty carried off by the Swedes to Stock- 
holm after their victory in 1648. 

Meyer has already disproved the old story of the discovery of the 
Danlie and the Leda in a stable, where they were used to fill uj) the 
windows, by Sebastian Bourdon, court painter to Christina of Sweden 
in 1653-54. He endeavours to trace their further history in certain 
allusions made by Winckelmann, and in some letters written by Count 
Tessin to Gustavus, hereditary Prince of Sweden." It is certain, at 
least, that both pictures were at Stockholm in the middle of the 
' Lt'ttcre, ii. \). 329. Venice, 1752- - Coi-trgi;!^>, I'- 350- 

S S 


seventeenth century. The inventory of Christina's collections, com- 
piled in 1652, and revised in 1653, is preserved in the Stockholm 
Library, and the Dauiic and Lcda are inscribed as numbers 81 and 82. 
Their subsequent history presents no difficulties. The eccentric 
Christina carried the Dainic, the Lcda, and the copy of the lo to 
Rome, with many other jDictures, and left them on her death to Cardinal 
Decio Azzolini. His nephew, Marchese Pompeo, sold them to Don 
Livio Odescalchi, Duke of Bracciano, from whose heirs they were 
bought by the Regent Orleans.^ The narrow bigotry of his son 
Louis condemned them as obscene ; his uneasy scruples were 
fostered by his confessor, the Abbe of Ste. Genevieve, who j^er- 
suaded him to destroy them. A knife was driven through that flesh, 
to which a supreme art had given the very semblance of life, and 
the fair heads of Lcda and of lo were severed from their bodies. 

It seems almost miraculous that they should have escaped entire 
destruction. Charles Coypel, keeper of the gallery, saved the fragments, 
probably from burning. He either carried them off surreptitiously, or 
obtained them from the Duke by prayers and protests. It is asserted 
that after piecing them together as well as he was able, he begged 
first Vanloo, and then Boucher, to paint in new heads, and upon their 
refusal, applied to a certain Delyen. Another version declares that 
he filled them in himself. The point is of little moment, as the heads 
then painted no longer exist. That of /c) was repainted by Prudhon, 
and that of Lcda by .Schlesinger. 

The rest of the story may be briefly told. At the public sale of 
Coypel's collections in 1752, they were bought by the well-known 
amateur, Pasquier. On his death shortly afterwards, they were 
acquired for Frederick the Great through the intermediary of the 
Comte d'Epinailles. In 1806 they were carried off to Paris by 
Napoleon, but were restored eight years later, and in 1830 they were 
placed in the Berlin Gallery, where they still remain. - 

The Damic, which had escaped the ferocious prudery of Louis of 
Orleans, passed to London with the rest of the family collection, and 

' iMcngs, ii. ],. 146. Tiraboschi, p. bz. 

- Meyer, p. 347. IJode, K. Miisecn zu Berlin. Badircibendes Vcrzeicliniss tier 
Gemdlde, \i\i. T, 4. Ikrlin, 1S91. 


was there sold 
to the Duke of 
In iSi6 it 
was bought by 
Henry Hope 
for/ 1 83. In 
1823 it return- 
ed to Paris, 
where it found 
another pur- 
chaser, who 
finally sold it 
to the Prin- 
cess Borghesc. 
The Princess 
took it to 
Rome, and 
placed it in 
her famous 
gall e r y, o f 
which it now 
forms one of 
the chief orna- 

Thus re- 
duced to a brief 
narrative of 
facts gleaned 

' f ; i o V a n 11 1 
Morelli, The Eor- 
ghese Gallery, 
Ifaliati Paitikrs, 
ii. p. 226. Ad. 
Venturi, Mnseo r 
galleria horghese, 
p. 94. Rome, 1S93. 


from various sources, and set forth collectively, the history of 
Correggio's mythological pictures no longer presents the apparent 
difficulties and contradictions that confront us in the biographies which 
attempt to trace the career of each work separately. 

lo, a nymph of Thessaly, and priestess of Juno, was returning 
from visiting her father. Jupiter saw her, and, enamoured of her 
youth and beauty, made himself known to her as lord of the universe 
and of thunder, and declared his passion. Alarmed at his overtures, 
lo fled in terror across the plains of Arcadia; but Jove pursued and 
overtook her, enveloped her in a dense mist, and, transforming himself 
into a cloud, or rather concealing himself in one, embraced her. It is 
this supreme moment of the drama which Correggio has rendered with 
an art and sentiment of extraordinary force and novelty. 

Jo, half seated, half reclining on a rising knoll, on which her white 
drapery is disposed with studied negligence, is seen from behind, but 
her head with its languishing eyes is thrown back voluptuously, and 
her mouth offers itself, flower-like, to the kiss of the god, whose face is 
dimly discerned through the gray vapours. Her fair hair is gathered 
into a knot at the top of her head, showing her white forehead. The 
smooth contours of her exquisitely moulded form seem to quiver. Her 
right foot is raised, the great toe outstretched, the others bent down- 
wards ; the left foot, which rests on the ground, is contracted. Her 
right hand seems to close tremblingly, her left arm is laid round the 
cloud, as if to draw it to her, and through the mist, the hand of the 
god is seen appearing from beneath her arm. The foliage of a few 
little trees pierces the delicate mass of vapour at intervals. Behind lo, 
close to the mound on which she is seated, is a great amphora, from 
beneath which a stream of clear water flows over the stones. This is 
perhaps the river Inachus, to which the adventurous nymph owed her 
being. To the right, a hind approaches to slake her thirst at the 
brook. The manner in which the artist has solved the problem of 
showing nearly the whole of lo's figure, and yet suggesting the 
envelopment of her form by the cloud, is very remarkable. Her 
figure, which is little short of life-size, fills nearly all the canvas. The 
presence of the god is indicated only by the dimly seen face and hand. 
Yet in this mysterious apparition, and in the slow exhalations of the 


clouds ihat darken the sky, all the vague and solemn poetry of the 
old myth is realised.^ 

The Daiiiic, now in the Villa I'orghese, is the only one of Cor- 
reggio's mythological pictures remaining in Italy. The fair daughter 
of Acrisius, a delicately virginal figure, turns her face to Cupid, who, 
seated on her couch, draws back her white drapery, that the golden 
rain bv which Jove makes her the mother of Perseus may descend 
upon her. Below, to the right, two beautiful Amorini are intent on 
sharpening their arrows, a quiver full of which lies near them. A 
ruined building and the faint outline of distant hills are seen through 
a high window. 

Danae betrays none of the agitation of lo. There is a spirituality 
in her emotion, and a classic dignity in the ingenuous composure of 
her form which gives her a charm impossible to describe in words. 
The execution adds not a little to the fascination of this picture. The 
impasto is marvellous, and the fusion of the tints so perfect that " they 
seem not to have been laid on with the brush, but melted together 
like wax in the fire." The values, asserting themselves almost in- 
sensibly in the chromatic scale, succeed one another in faultless 
harmony. Approaching the picture closely, the eye is hardly conscious 
of any colour, so perfectly are the anatomical planes concealed in the 
exquisite torso, which rivals that of the Venus of Milo herself. They 
reveal themselves, however, as soon as the spectator looks at the 
picture from a point whence he commands the whole composition. 
Then the nude contours, relieved against the whiteness of the linen 
by touches of a pale golden tone, gradually display the various planes 
of the modelling. Above the smiling face rises a mass of golden hair, 
one strand of which falls upon her shoulder. This perfect beauty of 
form is not so satisfactorily sustained in the arms ; the right is over- 
muscular, and there is an exaggeration in the curve of the left, as it 
detaches itself from the bust. 

Cupid gazes up to the cloud, from which the golden shower 
descends. He seems to be adoring the god, and at the same time 
persuading the Argive maiden to receive him gladly, and to account 

1 An old painter converted this /.' into a .S'/.v/zV/c DitJjm, which was attributed to 
Correggio. G. D. Sornique engraved it. 


In Correggio's version, the incident is not conhncd to Led;i. 
The nymphs who have been her companions in the l)ath are seen 
in the backgronnd, si^orting with other swans who pnrsue tliem 
in the water. Two tiring-women, completely dressed, appear on the 
bank. One, in a blue robe, leans her hands on the mound, and gazes 
smilingly at the scene. The other, who is dressed in red, is about 
to throw a white drapery over a nymph who emerges from the 
water. The strains of music add to the pleasures of the hour. 
Cupid has laid aside his (juiver to play a lyre, and two piitti in 
front of him are blowing rude horns, one seated on the grcjund, 
the other erect, in an attitude of infantine self-importance that 
provokes a smile. 

Even in its present state, the richness of the composition, the 
number and variety of the figures, and the beauty of the landscape 
make this picture the most remarkable of Correggio's mythological 
subjects. The feminine forms have the grace of early youth, to- 
gether with the voluptuous loveliness of full development, and are 
distinguished by that indescribable spiritualisation of sensual emotion 
in the rendering of which Correggio stands alone. ^ The last mytho- 
logical picture with which we have to deal is the GaiiyDtcdc, a work 
which presents some curious features. 

There was a time when it was not ascribed to Correggio ; Par- 
migianino was its reputed author when it passed from Madrid to 
Prague. The first writer who spoke of a Gauyiiicdc by Correggio 
was Ottonelli, about the middle of the seventeenth century. Un- 
fortunately, he gives no description of the picture, nor does he allude 
in any way to its owner, or domicile.- Strange to say, however, this 
Ganymede is an exact reproduction of a youthful angel in the dome 
of Parma Cathedral, the one in the pendentive immediately below 
St. Bernard. This fact, which, as far as we know, has never been 
pointed out before, is an abnormal one in the history of Correggio's 
(Ciivrc. We are bound to admit that the e.xact reproduction of this 
figure under the altered conditions is directly opposed both to good sense 

1 Antonio Coppi wrote a study on the Rospigliosi Leda, which was for a long time 
ascribed to Correggio. See liis No/hic di iiii qiiadro del Correggio {Dissertnzioni delta 
Accad. Roinana di Arclteologia), xiii. jiji. 129-140. Rome, 1S21. 

- Tml/a/o dcl/a pitfiira, p. 155. 


and good taste. Many traits which are perfectly logical in the angel, 
cease to have any fitness when adapted to the Ganymede. Thus, to 
avoid any alteration in the curve of the arm, and to evade the necessity 
of showing the right hand, we have a Ganymede who has not been 
seized and carried off by the eagle, but who clings to the bird, and soars 

upwards with 
all the serenity 
of a practised 
aeronaut. The 
eagle certainly 
grasps him in 
his talons, but 
only by the 
clothes, an 
action which 
would natur- 
ally have 

drawn them 
tightly round 
his body under 
the arms. No 
such strain, 
however, is to 
be observed. 
T he hi g h 
lights are dis- 
tributed in a 
precisely simi- 
hir fashion 
over the 
bodies of the 
angel and of the Ganymede. Yet it is evident that the Ganymede's 
left arm is partly in the sliadow of the eagle's head and neck, whereas 
the light strikes full on thai of the angel. A more oln'ious absurdity is 
apparent in the arrangement of the draperv. In tlu' downward flight 
of the angel, his garment naturally flutters behind him, sweeping 


Jii the Weimar Mu 

"VICE" AND •' VIRTUE" 321 

upwards. The same lines are preserved in the drapery of the 
Ganymede, In direct contradiction to his supposed ascent through the 
air. The physical laws of aerial motion could not have escaped 
Correggio, who in every other case has noted them with the utmost 
precision. If in addition to all this we remember the old attribution of 
the picture to Parmigianino, which Meyer noted when he ranked it 
as among the least important of Correggio's works, we may be per- 
mitted to confess our doubts as to its originality. In the Weimar 
Museum there is a pen drawing in bistre, agreeing in all respects 
the picture, save that the group is reversed, and if this is to be accepted 
as the study preliminary, we have an additional argument against 
the authenticity of the work, for the drawing is certainly not by 
Correggio. We are loth to pronounce with the same confidence 
against the picture, taking into account its many fine qualities. 

The eagle who soars towards Olympus, gently licking the arm of 
the beautiful son of Tros, the slender grace of the Phrygian youth, 
the novel charm of the landscape, the white dog " who seems to 
strain after his master, as if eager to follow his flight," ^ make up a 
conception at once bold, expressive, and pleasing. The colour, too, 
is glowing and transparent. 

All this, however, will not suffice to remove the doubt suggested 
by the peculiarities we have noted. We think it highly probable that 
one of Correggio's more skilful pupils or Imitators may have conceived 
the notion of transforming the angel of the cupola Into a Ganymede. 

But why, it may be asked, should not the idea have occurred to 
the master himself? Because a painter like Correggio would not have 
slavishly repeated himself, when art and common sense alike demanded 
a modification of his theme. 

In the face of the opinion expressed by so many critics, however, we 
will not venture on a dogmatic pronouncement, In spite of the fact that the 
work was formerly ascribed to Parmigianino. It 7;^^ be by Correggio; 
but we are by no means convinced that It is not rather an adaptation of 
the angel In the cupola by a clever pupil, such as Michelangelo Anselml.- 

1 Mengs, ii. p. 150. 

" It must not be forgotten that many pictures by Parmigianino, Rondani, and in 
particular by Ansclmi, were formerly ascribed to Correggio, and are occasionally still 

T T 



Among the latest of the works undoubtedly by Correggio's hand 
are the two canvases painted in tempera, in the Louvre. The types 
are peculiarly attractive, and the figures are remarkable for their 

easy and vigorous 

They were ori- 
ginally included in 
Isabella d'Este's 
collection, and are 
thus loosely de- 
scribed in a notice 
written about the 
middle of the si.x- 
teenth century : 
" Two pictures by 
the late Antonio da 
Correggio, in one 
of which is painted 
the story of Apollo 
and Marsyas {s?c), 
In the other the 
three Virtues, Jus- 
tice, Temperance, 
and Fortitude, in- 
structing a child 
so to spend its time 
that it may receive 
from them the 
crown and palm."^ 

V,CE, AN ALLE,.OKV, BV COKKEGG.O. J^|]^^ j|^^ AllHope, 

111 the Louvre. 

they passed mto 
the possession of Charles I. of England in 1628, and afterwards 
into that of the Parisian banker, Jabach. The Virtue was after- 
so ascribed. I had already written tlie above observations on the Gatiymede when Dr. 
Hugo von Tschudi introduced me to his study, Correggio's mythologische Darstdlungen, 
jniblished in the GrapJiischen Kiiiisten. Vienna, 1880. 
' Carlo d'Arco, op. cit. ii. p. 134. Meyer, p. 354. 



wards acquired by Cardinal Mazarin, and finally by Louis XIV 
Vice was sold to the French King by Jabach himself in 167 1. 

J^icc is seated at the foot of a group of trees, and struggles to free 
himself from the 
cords which bind 
him to the trunks. 
Three women, their 
hair entwined with 
serpents, stand 
about him. One of 
them presents him 
with some vipers, 
which rear their 
crests at him from 
her hand ; the 
second deafens him 
with the sound of 
a pipe, which she 
blows loudly close 
by him ; the third 
binds his feet. 
Mengs e.xplains the 
first figure to be 
Conscience, who 
stings him, the 
third. Habit, who 
enslaves him, the 
second, Pleasure, 
who flatters his 
senses with melody. 
It is certain, how- 
ever, that none of the three produces such keen discomfort in the 
sufferer as the Pleasure, with her ear-piercing notes ! She is, more 
probably, the representative of Conscience, tormenting him with her 
keen and sibilant reproof ; the bearer of the vipers may be Passion, 
and the third figure Habil or Custom, as suggested. Below is seen the 


half-length figure of a lively little satyr, with a bunch of grapes in 
his hand. Three feminine figures also surround rir/iic, a beautiful 
woman, who is seated, clad in armour, and trampling on a dragon. 
Glory, a winged figure, hovers over her, about to crown her with 
laurel. On one side of her is seated a woman, who represents earthly 
and heavenly knowledge ; she points upwards with her left hand, and 
with her right revolves a compass on a globe. A little genius 
attends her. A noble and commanding figure on the other 
side, with a serpent entwined in her hair, and a bit, a sword, 
and a lion's skin, represents the four cardinal virtues. Prudence, 
Justice, Fortitude, and Temperance. Above, in an aureole of light, 
three genii wing their flight, singing and playing. In the background 
is a wall, overgrown with foliage, and beyond it stretches a wide 

There is an unfinished picture of the same subject, also in tempera, 
in the Doria-Pamfili Gallery at Rome. The lower part is fairly ad- 
vanced, and the colours are laid in ; but the three genii above are 
barely indicated. Its authenticity was never questioned till within the 
last {&\s years. It was accepted as a replica by Correggio by students 
such as Mengs and Miindler, and by Meyer, who pronounces it 
" unquestionably an original work." 

Morelli, however, fell foul of this peaceful unanimity, and raised a 
hornets' nest of doubts and suspicions. He thought the canvas had 
a very modern appearance ; he condemned the draperies as heavy and 
clumsy, the hair as coarsely treated, the attendant genius of Virtue as 
affected and ugly, the colour as opaque, and in parts hard and 
metallic. He further suggested that the picture might be one of those 
copies of the gems of Jabach's collection which the banker himself had 
painted, as Mariette tells us, by Jean Baptiste and Michael Corneille, 
Pesne, Masse, and Rousseau.^ 

Of the various other allegorical and mythological works ascribed to 
Correggio we think it unnecessary to speak. The time for their 
profitable discussion has either passed by, or is not yet come.- 

1 P. J. Mariette, Abecedario publie par Ph. Chenneviferes et A. de Montaiglon. Paris 
1854-56. (;. Morelli, The Doria-Pamfili Gallery {Italian Painters), i. pp. 312-14. 

" A Venus stringing the Bow for Cupid and a Charity were formerly ascribed to him. 
Puiigileoni (ii. p. 117) further speaks of a Circe. The brothers Minghetti, of Bologna 


It seems certain that during the last months of his life, the 
painter was engaged on some drawings for Gonzaga, illustrating 
the LiJvcs of Jupiter, which may have, been cartoons for tapestry. On 
the death of Correggio, Federigo vainly importuned Alessandro Caccia, 
Governor of Parma, either to let him take [)Osscssion of the cartoons, 
or recover the fifty ducats he had paid for them from tlie painter's 

The Duke's first letter (September 12, 1534) begins with the 
statement : " Master Antonio of Correggio, painter, was at work on 
many things for me," and this confirms the testimony of Yasari, who 
says that the mythological pictures already described were painted for 
Gonzaga. He goes on to insist that the works in question should be 
sought for, seized, and sent to him. " They are mine," he exclaims, 
" and no one else has any right to them ! " 

Five days later Caccia replies that all his eftbrts to trace the 
missing works have been vain, and that it would be best to inquire at 
Correggio, whither the painter himself, or his children, had taken all 
his possessions, with the exception of two chests, in which nothing had 
been found. The Duke returned to the charge a month later, 
soliciting Caccia to inquire at the house of Scipione Montino della 
Rosa : " having heard that they are in his hands." The governor 
answered that they were certainly not in Scipione's possession, that he 
had sought them first of all at his house, and that IMontino had 
declared he knew nothing of them.^ 

Caccia, no doubt, had demanded them of the very person who 
probably had them, thus giving him notice of the quest, and enabling 
him to conceal them ! 

Federigo Gonzaga never obtained his cartoons, nor is it very likely 
that he recovered his money. 

(china manufacturers), have a fine picture of Narcissus and Echo, which some persons 
suppose to be by Correggio. 

1 \V. BaghirolH, Dei rapporti di Federigo Gonzaga con A. A. da Correggio {Giornale 
d'erudizione artistica, \. p. 329 et seq. Perugia, 1872). 





THE deed by which the 
Franciscans commissioned 
Correggio to paint his first 
great altar-piece in 15 14 was ex- 
ecuted in the artist's bedroom, 
on the ground floor of his own 
humble dwelling. 

With the first breath of spring, 
on March 5, 1534, Correggio 
passed away among his own 
people in that same house, per- 
haps in that same little room, 
where the first vision of art had 
dawned upon him. He was 
barely forty years old, and had 
been a widower for five years. 


On the following clay, a l-'riday, mass was said for the rei)Ose of his 
soul. He was then laid in his tomb. His father^ caused another mass 
to be said a year afterwards. - 

His illness cannot have been a long one. We have seen that he 
acted as witness to the marriage settlement of Chiara da Correggio 
little more than a month before his death, and that on June 15 
following, his father refunded the twenty-five gold siiufi paitl him by 
Messer Alberto Panciroli of Reggio on account for the altar-piece he 
did not live to paint. 

Vasari repeats a curious tradition connected with his death : 
" Having received a payment of si.xty sciidi in copper at Parma, he 
wished to take the money back with him to Correggio for a certain 
purpose, and he accordingly started to walk home, loaded therewith ; 
the heat being very great, he was much overcome, and drinking 
water to refresh himself, he took to his bed with a great fever, and 
never raised his head again." ^ 

This is obviously a fable. Correggio's work in Parma had been 
finished and paid for some years before ; and he was certainly not so 
poverty-stricken as to have been compelled to make the long journey 
between Parma and Correggio (a distance of over forty kilometres) on 
foot. We know from various documents, too, that he had returned to 
his native city some time before. But the most ridiculous part of the 
story is that which says that his illness was caused by the heat of the 

1 Pellegrino Allegri died on March i, 1542, his wife Bernardina three years later. 

2 In the register, or account-book, of the sacristy of San Francesco at Correggio, the 
following entry occurs : " In the year 1534 of the month of March, on the 6th day, which 
was a Friday, the funeral office was performed by Padre Fra Pedre, L.— : 9 : — : on the 
same day, for the interment of Master Antonio de Alegri, painter, L.— : soldi 13 : den. 8 ; 
on the 9th day, which was a Monday, the mass of the seventh day was said for Master 
Anto de Alegri, painter, L— ; sold. 13 : den. 8 ; on the loth day, which was a Tuesday, 
the mass of the thirtieth day was said for the above: Lire — : soldi 13 : den. 8." In 
the year 1535, on the 8th day of March, which was a Monday, a mass was said by desire 
of Doman, called Allegro ; on the 9th day, which was a Tuesday, a mass was said for 
the above." In Antonioli's transcription, published by Magnanini (p. 81), the mass of 
the octave mentioned by ^Tiraboschi (vi. 298) and Pungileoni (ii. p. 251)- 's omitted. 
The latter further extracts the following from the account-book of the Confraternity of 
San Sebastiano ; " Zan Antonio Massaro, for the death of Master Antonio de n<?»,an, 
an iu/io and a candle, L.— ; 8 :— 4." It has been stated elsewhere that Dcviian was 
the sobriquet of Correggio's father. ^ ^^'^'■'' '^'- P- "9- 


sun. Unhappily, winter still reigns in the valley of the Po through- 
out the month of February. Its waters are ice-bound, and its cold 
winds sweep over a snow-covered country ! 

We have no authentic record, either literary or artistic, of Correggio's 
personal appearance. As far as we know, no old writer described him, 
no painter nor sculptor of his time left a portrait of him. There are 
several portraits extant which claim to have been made " after his 
image and likeness," but not a trace of evidence can be brought forward 
in support of their authenticity. On the other hand, we have Vasari's 
testimony, which is of great weight in this case. " I have," he says, 
" most diligently sought to obtain a portrait of him, but he never 
painted it himself, nor was he ever painted by others, for he always 
lived very modestly, and I have been unable to find one." ^ 

After this, it would be idle to linger over the various reputed 
portraits of the master, painted and engraved. The reader who cares 
to know more of these is referred to Ratti,- Lanzi,^ Pungileoni,* and 
Meyer/' who, among them, give an e.xhaustive account of the 

We may remark, however, that two types predominate in these 
supposed likenesses. One is derived from a panel attributed to 
Dosso Dossi ; the other, from a figure frescoed by Lattanzio Gambara 
in Parma Cathedral. 

The first, which is the one usually accepted by modern writers, 
represents a young man with a long fair beard, in a round cap. It was 
first reproduced by Ratti in his Notizic ; he writes of it as follows : 
" The frontispiece of my book was copied from a portrait which I 
myself have had in my hands, painted upon a panel of walnut wood, 
with much intelligence and precision. It was bought at Geneva by an 
English gentleman for eight zecchini, and on the reverse was this 
inscription, written apparently when the picture was painted : Portrait 
of Master Antonio Correggio by the hand of Dosso Dossi. I have 
always kept the copy, not liaving been able to procure the original." 

Storia pittoiiici, ii. p. 305. 

Ot. at. iv. 

p. i.S. 

2 Op.dt.i>.T2. 

Op. cit. i. 1 

). 254 ct scj ; 

ii. p]). 141, 254 li scj. 


p. 25 d SC,J.\ 

p. 453 '■'' ^'Y- 


It is not known whether the copy in Ratti's possession was the one 
painted by Mengs.i Ikit the inscription is of very small historic 
value. It bears a suspicious likeness to many others of comparatively 
modern manufacture, with which the owners of pictures have sought to 
increase their value. 

Another series of portraits owes its origin, as we have said, to a 
fresco by Gambara. To the right of the main entrance in I'cU'ma 
Cathedral he painted a slightly bald man, with a dark beard, an 
aquiline nose, and a high forehead. Now Lattanzio was not born 
till after the death of Correggio, and did not paint in the cathedral 
till some thirty years later (1568-1573). But setting this f<ict aside, 
how are we to reconcile the appearance of this wrinkled, elderly man, 
who looks at least sixty, with that of the painter, who died at the early 
age of forty ? - The story must have been invented by some imagina- 
tive sacristan, for the delectation of foreigners from whom he expected 
a douceur. 

Nevertheless, credulous persons have gravely reproduced the por- 
trait as that of the artist. The spare, bent, bald old man who figures 
as Correggio in some editions of Vasari, is merely an exaggerated 
version of the unknown painted by Gambara. Lanzi declares this 
print to have been derived from a collection of drawings belonging 
to Padre Resta, known as the Gallcria porlaiilc ; but allowing 
this, it may still have owed its origin to the fresco. 

In addition to these two generally received versions, or, as we may 
call them, these two contagious sources of error, we have what may be 
called the sporadic cases, fancy portraits by various painters, some of 
them of our own times, who have either evolved a Correggio from 
their inner consciousness, or have discovered him in the unknown face 
that looks out upon them from some smoky canvas. 

Among the sporadic specimens, we class the portrait in the 
Bolognese edition of Vasari, the first instalment of which appeared 
in 164S ; the portrait formerly in the Palazzo del Giardino at Parma, 
described as that of a black-bearded man in a black dress and pointed 

' Open-, ii. p. 300, note by ti. N. d'Azara. 
- Tiraboschi, pi). 272, 301, 302. 


collar,' the portrait published by Isaac Bullart in 16S2,- the portrait 
in the Gallery of Tours, claiming to be by no less a person 
than Tintoretto, which came from an abbey in Touraine,^ and a 
hundred others, ending with Agostino Marchesi's beautiful engraving 
of 1855. 

To all these legendary and imaginary portraits we must add those 
which owe their designation to some mistake or confusion. Meyer 
has already suggested that the Antonio da Conrggio ascribed to Dosso 
may have been a portrait of Bernieri ; D'Azara tells us he saw a portrait 
at Turin, in the Vigiia dclla Rcgina, inscribed Antonio Allcgri da 
Conrggio, whereas Lanzi says it bore the forged inscription Antoniits 
Corriggiiis.^ This portrait, which was, as a fact, in the palace of the 
King of Sardinia, near Turin, generally known as the Vigna della 
Regina, came from the Marchese di INIonferrato's collection, and 
claimed to be a copy from an authentic original at Parma ! Antonioli, 
however, who had a copy of it from Tiraboschi,'' pronounced it 
to be a portrait, not of the painter, but of one Antonio da Correggio, 
rector of San Martino," in which case (for it was reproduced several 
times, once in the second Sienese edition of Vasari) we have a worthy 
parish priest figuring as a great artist. Nor is this all. A modern 
biographer has endeavoured to combine with this legend of the portrait, 
another, of a servant who is supposed to have succeeded Correggio's 
wife as his model about i 530, and who, after the death of the painter 
and his parents, is said to have returned to her native place, carrying 
with her the portrait, which eventually passed into the Vigna dclla 
Regina I ' 

We will refrain from submitting an assortment of these various 

' G. Campori, CatalogJii ed inroitari, p. 270. 

2 Academic des scietices et dcs aiis, contcnant Ics vies et les cloges /lis/oriqiies des Iiommes 
illustres. Paris, 1862. 

3 MS. Minutes of t lie Auadciiiiu di belle arti of Panna, vii. pp. 16, 25, 35, 36. 
* Mengs, Opere, ii. ji. 200. L.inzi, op. cit. 

' VI. p. 301. '■■ McyL-r, pp. 25-26. 

' Magnanini, p. 116. 'J'liis rom.incu was built upon the mere fact that in liis will 
of November 19, 153S, Pellegrino .Mlugri left twenty gold scudi to his servant 
Margherita di Jacopo di Arimondo of Villa Sala in the district of Turin, pro beneiitei-entiis 
et servitiis. 


portraits of Correggio to our readers, though the infinite variety of 
types might afford th(;m some amusement. As a matter of fact there 
is barely one to which even a vestige of authenticity attaclies, and we 
prefer therefore to omit from our pages even the one; which has hitherto 
been generally accepted. 

Though scarcely more than a sketch, this supposed portrait is un- 
doubtedly of the school of Correggio. The brushing and the tones of 
the colour recall Girolamo Bedoli. It is of the same size as another, 
of Parmigianino, which has a similar frame. Both were originally in 
the Rossi collection, acquired by the Parma Gallery in 1S51. In the 
old catalogues it figures as : " Supposed portrait of Correggio." ' It 
is probably a hasty sketch of some one or other, but it is thoroughly 
artistic as a picture, and full of animation and intelligence. 

With regard to our painter's moral character, we have nothing to 
guide us but the words of Vasari, on which all other biographers have 
drawn : " He was of a very timid disposition, and exerted himself to 
excess in the practice of his art for the sake of his family, who were a 
great care to him ; and although by nature good and well-disposed, h(' 
nevertheless grieved more than was reasonable under the burden of 
those passions which are common to all men. He was very melancholic 
in the exercise of his art, and felt its fatigues greatly." And again : 
" Oppressed by family cares, Antonio was so bent on saving that he 
became miserly to a degree." - 

Vasari evidently exaggerates. But we do not think with Meyer" 
and Morelli,^ that he romanced merely for the sake of filling out his 
biographies, or making them interesting. D'Azara very unjustly calls 
that of Correggio " unworthy." '' 

It has been the fate of Vasari's work to be at once the best abused 
of books, and the one to which its critics are most deeply indebted. 
Some attack him for his inaccuracies in the matter of dates and facts ; 
some accuse him of partiality because of the praise he bestows on 
Tuscan artists ; some declare that he invented episodes and anecdotes 

1 Archives of the Parma Gallery, C. ii. '- ViU, iv. pp. no, 119. 

3 Correggio, pp. 14, 28. ■* /<• open- dci maestri italiani, p. 21. 

-' Mengs, Opere, i. \>. xcvii. 


to make his book amusing ; others are indignant with him for omitting 
to mention some local celebrity ; and others again pronounce him as 
poor a critic as he was a painter ! 

Unfortunate Giorgetio Vasellario, Arctinc painter ! ^?, Benvenuto 
Cellini calls thee ! How is it that under this perpetual shower of 
stones the life is not crushed out of thee ? 

The vcritt' vraic in this matter seems to be that half the reproaches 
heaped upon the author are unjust and disingenuous. 

He is accused of being confused and inaccurate, more especially in 
his history of the revival of art in its first manifestations. But access 
to the documents preserved in the archives was denied him, and all art 
records then extant were extremely meagre and defective. He was 
therefore driven to accept vague and doubtful traditions, and if he 
occasionally offers them to the reader without testing and examining 
them very severely, we must remember that the canons of criticism 
were not as yet determined. 

Nor is it difficult to justify the diffuseness with which he treats 
Tuscan art and Tuscan masters. He was born in Tuscany, and 
though he certainly visited most of the principal cities in Italy twice, 
he lived nearly all his life in Florence. He therefore had leisure and 
opportunity for the collection of materials for his notices of Tuscan 
masters, and could invoke the aid of friends to help him in his 
researches. It was impossible, taking into account his brief sojourns 
in other districts, and the difficulties of communication with which a 
writer of those days had to reckon, that he should have been as well 
informed about the masters of other schools. He himself often laments 
that he can give but a brief notice of artists to whom he would gladly 
have dedicated several pages. He had, it is true, agents who made 
researches on his behalf in certain districts, as, for instance, Gian 
Battlsta Grassi, who supplied him with "special information concerning 
things in Friuli," but the method and the activity of his "loving and 
courteous" friends were naturally by no means equal to his own. If, 
indeed, we find occasional passages in the Lives which seem to betray 
a preference for the Tuscans, is it just to quarrel with the writer, who, 
perhaps, felt himself most strongly drawn towards the great creations 


among which he had been born, and had grcwn up, and the art which 
he had studied in all its splendid and harmonious development ? 

Why, we may reasonably ask, after having spoken of Corrc^ggio in 
terms of the most enthusiastic admiration, should he have proceeded 
to invent details to prove him sordid and miserly ? Why, in other 
cases, does he lament over the scantiness of his materials, instead of 
drawing a series of finished imaginary portraits ? Why docs he 
content himself with dry catalogues of the works of other masters, 
concerning whom he had been unable to glean any information, instead 
of giving colour and vivacity to his narrative by inventions and false- 
hoods ? We can only conclude that the anecdotes he gives us of certain 
artists were commonly related of them in his day, just as similar stories 
are current about the famous men of our own times. 

Vasari tells us that Antonio was good and gentle, of a timid 
disposition, absorbed in his family cares and his work, and highly 
sensitive. He adds that the artist was miserly, and here his in- 
formants may have exaggerated, or he himself may have laid on the 
shadows of his portrait somewhat heavily. The legends of Correggio's 
extreme poverty arose from a mistaken interpretation of the passage : 
" He was so bent on saving that he became miserly {uiisero) to a 
degree." The Italian word ii/isero, with its double meaning, /c^r't' /-/)'- 
stricken and miserly, has strangely enough been accepted here in the 
first of these senses, though the whole tenor of the passage clearly 
indicates the second. 

The mistake grew with repetition, as always happens, until it 

assumed the most exaggerated form. x'\nnibale Carracci, Scannelli, 

Giuseppe Bigcllini, and some others, were almost persuaded that the 

painter died of hunger. A reaction, of course, took place in due 

course, and when it was actually proved that he possessed houses and 

lands, his poverty was suddenly converted into wealth, and his modest 

origin became a nobility dating back several centuries.^ 

1 Mengs (ii. pp. 138, 144) and Pungileoni (i. p. 248) went so far as to adduce 
Correggio's use of good materials, sucli as expensive panels and colours, for his work, 
as a proof of his prosperous social condition. 'I'iraboschi (vi. \>. 240) ver)' justly points 
out the absurdity of this argument, for the quality of his materials may have been due, 
not to his own expenditure, but to the taste and liberality of his patrons. 


That he was miserly we do not beheve. An amicable arrangement, 
due to his initiative, brought a long litigation over a disputed inheri- 
tance to an end. We can well believe, on the other hand, that he was 
careful and saving. It may be that a presentiment of his own early 
death, a desire to leave his family provided for, to give his daughters 
(two of whom, however, died young) suitable marriage portions, and to 
make his son Pomponio independent, to some extent, of his profession, 
no less than the disposition inherited from frugal and laborious parents, 
induced a sense of wise economy. This disposition, misinterpreted or 
exaggerated by some, caused him to be considered miserly, a trait the 
more likely to excite remark in his case, because of the absurd theory 
which obtains among the herd, that an artist must of necessity be 
eccentric, unmethodical, extravagant, and fantastic. 

That there was a strain of sadness in his character, or, as Vasari 
says, that his temperament was " melancholic," is not incompatible with 
the joyous and cheerful serenity of his art. The artist's psychology is 
not always apparent in his works. A strange duality sometimes pro- 
claims itself in the natural disposition and the intellectual production 
of a man. Some happy and sweet-tempered souls can express none 
but gloomy and violent thoughts with pen or brush, and others, of a 
silent and brooding habit, burst upon us with unsuspected fire, vivacity, 
and humour in their artistic creations. 

In his last years, circumstances were not wanting which may have 
aggravated his natural melancholy. Foremost among these was the 
death of his wife. Yet Vasari's phrase, " that he grieved more than was 
reasonable under the weight of those passions which are common to 
all men," seems to us a just and acute pronouncement on his character. 
Devoted to his art, absorbed in the marvellous visions of his genius, 
intent on the loveliness created by his own brush, Correggio no doubt 
felt a perturbation out of all proportion to the actual trouble when some 
small mishap forced him to withdraw himself from communings with 
the gods, and brought him into momentary conflict with his fellow- 
men. Too modest, on the one hand, to seek for praise, we think 
he must have been keenly sensitive to criticism, even of the most 
ignorant and irresponsible kind. The witticism of the canon, when 


his frescoes in the cathedral were first displayed, must have been 
very bitter to him. 

This modest reticence, this shrinking sensibiHty, no doubt explains 
why Correggio never sought to measure himself against the other 
famous artists of his time, in some great centre of Italian culture. 
Gentle and retiring, contented with his lot, without ambition, he may 
have felt no aspirations after the successes of his contemporaries, 
perhaps had no idea that he himself was their equal, in some respects 
indeed their superior. 

His simple mind was satisfied with the affectionate adminui(~>n of 
his pupils and friends. His desires and efforts all centred in the 
peaceful and constant exercise of his art. Francesco Algarotti wrote 
as follows to Antonio Maria Zanotti in 1761 : " If fortune is lacking, 
why should not your own merit content you ? Merit is no empty 
name ; it will at least give you a subsistence, and will keej) you happily 
employed all day. Correggio and Barocci were of this mind ; the 
one remained at Parma, the other at Urbino ; and they were more 
happy and contented than many kings' painters." ^ 

Scarcely more than a century after his death, Correggio's tomb in 
the church of San Francesco was demolished. It was under a recess 
in the outside wall of the church, adjoining the cloister of the cemetery, 
and was destroyed in 16-II, when certain alterations were carried out. 
Tiraboschi, quoting from a letter of Padre Resta's, dated November 30, 
1695, says that when Correggio's sepulchral niche was taken away, 
" his bones were removed, and were perhaps placed where the chapel of 
San Giuseppe da Copertino now stands, or near the side door by which 
the church is entered from the porch.'"- The chronicler Bulbarini, in 
one of his notes to the Zuccardi chronicle, is more precise: " In the 
outer cloister of San Francesco, where the miracle of the mule adoring 
the Blessed Sacrament is painted, there was a chapel, like a room, with 
an altar, the picture from which is now in the Arrivabeni Chapel ; at 
the base of this altar was a tomb with a wooden lid, on which was 
carved Antonins dc Allcgris pictor. When the chapel was demolished, 
the bones of the dead man in this tomb were interred not far off, that 
1 Bottari, Lctterc, vii. p. 475. - Vol. vi. p. 299. 


is to say, below the painting of the other miracle, that of the marble 
shattered by the drinking-glass/ where the monument of the Conti 
now is. This was told me by a person who saw some of these things 
himself, and had heard others from one who saw them." - 

It is, therefore, well known where the painter's bones were laid 
in 1 64 1. Their resting-place, shared, no doubt, by other mem- 
bers of his family, is clearly indicated in the inscription preserved 
by Pungileoni, which begins Antoiiii Allegri ossa traiislala anno 
doiiiini MDCXLI ibi itobiliorcin expectant tuniuluni. The marble 
slab which Girolamo Conti had carved in Correggio's honour in 
1647, was originally built into the wall over the spot to which the 
bones had been removed ; it was placed over the lateral porch of 
San Francesco in the second half of the eighteenth century. 
Hence we must suppose that when the friars were importuned 
for a piece of the painter's bone, and declared they did not know 
where he was buried, they were only an.xious to avoid the pro- 
fanation of his ashes. The anecdote told to Contarelli and pre- 
served by Tiraboschi is as follows : " An Austrian official quartered 
here during the last war with Italy,-' was so enthusiastic a worshipper 
of Correggio, that he asked for a small piece of the painter's bone to 
set in a ring, supposing his remains to be under the stone ; the reply 
of the monks even then was that they would have allowed an excava- 
tion, but that they could not exactly say where the skeleton had been 
placed ! " ■* 

A shameful farce, if we may so speak of the violation of a tomb, 
was enacted in 1786, to gratify the sentimental folly of Ercole III., 
Duke of Modena, who, aping the Academy of St. Luke at Rome, 
where Raphael's skull was preserved in a glass case, ordered that of 
Correggio to be exhumed, and placed in the Academy of Modena! 
How far this was conscientiously carried out we may judge by two 
documents published by Bigi, which we cannot forbear to reproduce.-' 

' An allusion to a miracle of St. Anthony. " Pungileoni, iii. p. 43. 

=' This must have been during the war of the Austrian .Succession, perhaps after the 

battle of Camposanto, on the Panaro, in 1743. ^ Pungileoni, iii. p. 43. 

'■> Delia vita c dcllc opcir tciic e iinxrU' di A. ./., pj). 96, 97. 

TUK IIlsr()R\- Ol' A SKL'1,1. 337 

On June 22, i;86, Count V'incenzo Fahrizi, governor of Carpi 
and Correggio, wrote from Carpi to Count Munarini, the I^uke of 
Modena's minister, " Immediately upon receiving your Excellency's 
revered communication, I hasten to inform you of what is taking 
place in connection with the painter Antonio Allegri. ... In the first 
months of my governorship, I made diligent inquiries touching this 
great man, but was unable to discover anything, save that he was 
buried in the first cloister of the Conventual Minorites. I could never 
discover any trace of his body, seeing that his bones were mixed with 
those of other corpses under the said cloister. ... If the Signor Sola 
is coming to Correggio with the Intention of fetching the skull of the 
famous painter, his journey will be In vain, for the reasons I have 
given above ; but as he may have some other object in view, I shall 
be happy to receive him, and shall be myself in the city on Sunday, on 
business of state, and to take part in the solemnities in honour of the 
second patron of the city. I have felt myself bound so far to represent 
to your Excellency with much reluctance, that his Serene Highness's 
lofty aspirations cannot be gratified, and that the Academy cannot 
obtain a memento which might well have excited the envy of the 
most famous and highly esteemed of such associations." 

To this frank communication from Fabrizi, IMunarini sent the 
following disingenuous answer the next day : " The present will serve 
as an answer to your letter .... relating to the skull of Correggio, 
buried In the city. I must warn you, however, that this communication 
must be kept strictly secret by you, if you wish to regulate your conduct 
according to the intentions and earnest desires of his Serene Highness. 
He wishes the Signor Conte Brigadiere to have the place where we 
know Correggio's body lies, opened, and to take thence an ancient skull, 
and to set it aside, sarino- it is the skull of Correggio, and to preserve it 
as suck until further orders, and to give vie an immediate account of 
tkese proceedings, as if in ausiver to the tirst letter I ivrote on tkis 
sulf-ct to the Signor Conte Brigadiere .... making no allusion to this 
present communication. In his letter the Signor Conte might further 
include a certificate, attesting the truth of this little invention con- 
cernincr the said skull ; he may also say that he Is preserving the same 



with all care, in expectation of further orders from his Serene High- 
ness. His Serene Highness Avishes the skull to be preserved in the 
Academy of this city, as is that of Raphael at Rome, and as there can 
be no disadvantage therefrom, but rather a benefit and great increase of 
prestige to the Academy, his wish may be carried out by the above 
means without any difficulty whatever. Having now explained the 
sovereign will to my esteemed Signor Conte, it only remains for him 
to execute and cause it to be executed with all possible despatch 
and with the utmost care and circum- 

Fabrizi understood that it was use- 
less to insist any further, and that he 
must make up his mind to hold a 
candle to the devil ! The tomb was 
ransacked with a great show of rever- 
ence and enthusiasm ; a number of 
bones were removed, which were sent 
to the Palazzo Communale ;^ the first 
skull that was picked up was gravely 
handed round and examined by all the 

rm * ^w s. [irosaic Hamlets present, and finally 

^■^ sent off to Modena. There were, of 

^ course, other skulls in the tomb, but 

these were not taken out with the bones, 
i_ lest suspicion should be roused. It was 

given out that only the skeleton of the 
""""'"" painter had been discovered, and that 

111 llie Piazza, 

this had been equally divided between 
Correggio and Modena ; the skull, that is to say, to the ducal city,- 
the rest of the body to his native town. 

Creole's foolish and unworthy artifice has brought its own punish- 
ment in the discovery of the letters here reproduced. But even if 

' 'rhcsc bones were i>laced under the monument erected to AUegri at Correggio 
in iSSo. 

'- II. is still preserved in the R. Iiistituto di lielie Arli at ^[odena. Why is it not sent 
back and rei)laced in some tomb in the church of San Francesco? 


these had never come to light, the fraud would have been exposed by 
the anatomical examination of the skull, which shows it to have be- 
longed to a woman of advanced age.^ Such are the pitiless results of 
criticism, with its indiscreet insistence on proofs and verifications ! But 
for this merciless examination of facts, we should be admiring Cor- 
reggio's lineaments in the face of a country priest, and reverencing 
the skull of a toothless old woman as the shrine of his mighty genius! 
We are glad that our painter's fellow- 
citizens took no part in this act of 
deceit and profanation. It would be 
a pity that even the slightest stain 
should sully the history of their devo- 
tion. They watched with pride the 
development of his genius, gave him 
his first commissions, secured the 
peace of his last years, and stoutly 
opposed the thief who substituted 
copies for his original works by the 
ducal orders at a later date. They 
honoured the prophet who was given 
them, and this inclines us to deal 
leniently with their tardiness in pro- 
viding a suitable monument to his 

We have already seen how in [612 
a first appeal to the Correggese was 
made in vain, and how Conti, a resi- in the Piazza, coi-reggio. 

dent in Rome, set up the memorial we have mentioned, some thirty- 
five years later. In 1682, the Council was assembled "by the tolling 
of the great bell " to consider a scheme for the erection of a marble 
monument to Correggio. Three years passed before a faculty was 
granted for its execution,- and yet another three before Giovanni 

' Bigi, (5/. a'/, p. 98. 

- Communal Archives of Correggio. /^Ci^isfro des;/i atti dd dvisiglio ComuiiaU' dal 
1647 al 1694. 



Martino Baini submitted designs and terms to the Council.^ But 
nothing came of all these meetings, deliberations, and discourses. 

Girolamo Tiraboschi tells us that Padre Resta, indignant at the 
dilatory manner in which the Correggese treated all proposals for 
commemorating the great artist who had made their city glorious, 
declared himself " ready to undertake the charges of a suitable monu- 
ment," for which purpose he proposed to raise money by the sale of 
a number of drawings he believed to be by Corregglo. He went so 
far as to have a bust carved for the proposed memorial. But finding 
no purchaser for his drawings, and being unable to provide the 
necessary funds, he professed his willingness to hand over the bust 
to the Correggese. Disgusted, perhaps, when he saw that the latter 
made no attempt to carry out the scheme he had been 
forced to abandon, he changed his mind, and sent it 
to Monsignor Resta, Bishop of Tortona.- 

It is unnecessary to give a detailed list of busts 
and memorials erected to Correggio in other places. 
Suffice it to say that in 1870 a statue of the painter 
by Agostino Ferrarini was unveiled in the Piazza 
Grande of Parma, and that in the same year a com- 
mittee was formed at Correggio " to repair a great wrong hitherto un- 
expiated, and remove the reproach of a prolonged ingratitude, for which 
every worthy citizen must fe-el remorse." This time the deliberations 
of the committee had a practical result. A subscription was set on 
foot, and a sufficient sum was raised to allow of the execution of a 
statue by the famous sculptor, Vincenzo Vela, which was publicly 
dedicated to Correggio's memory in his own city, on October 1 7, 1 880/' 

1 Pungileoni, iii. p. 46. The i)roposed monument was to have I)ccn crowned with 
a heraldic shield, jjerhaps the arms of the commune. Domenico Manni, however, 
reproduced a supposed coat of arms of Correggio, which was in the possession of the 
Marchese Alfonso-Taccoli, of Parma. The crest is a horse. See Osscroaziotii storiche 
circa i sigilli a?tfichi, vol. xxix. No. 75. Florence, 1784. Tliis \olume contains" an 
anonymous biographical sketch of Correggio, dated March 2, 1716. 

2 Vol. vi. p. 299. 

■'■ O. 1!. I'antuzzi, Del Moiiumento al Correggio, opera di J'iiiceiizo Vela (Correggio, 
1 cSS I ), and Antonio Allegri, Conferenza. Correggio, i cS8o. I). ( ;. Cesare Marchi Castellini, 
Antonio Allegri, detto il Correggio, Vincenzo Vela e Luigi Asioli. Correggio, 1880. 




WE know that Ortcnsio 
Landi was the first to 
appreciate Corrcggio's 
L;i-cat artistic personality. Th(^ 
prolonged hesitation of criticism 
ia detc:rmining who were his 
masters, and to what school he 
might jjroperly be affiliated, de- 
monstrates more plainly than any 
affirmations, ancient or modern, 
how complete was the domina- 
tion of individual over acquired 
qualities in his art. Nay, more ; 
if we consider the gradual 


development of other great Italian painters, we shall see that very few 
among them worked out their own artistic salvation so unswervingly, 
or saw the world around them in a light so peculiarly individual. In 
this respect his only peers are Leonardo and Michelangelo ; and even 
here, the advantages of the comparison are on his side ; the influence 
of Tuscan art, especially that of Verrocchio, is more obvious in the 
case of Leonardo, and that of Jacopo della Querela, Donatello, and 
Luca Signorelli in the case of Michelangelo, than are the influences 
of the Ferrarese and of Mantegna in the works of Corregglo. With 
Raphael and Titian we arc not here concerned, for the evolution 
of formuL-e which culminated in their manner is absolutely logical 
and self-evident. 

Correggio s development, on the other hand, has been a fruitful 
theme of discussion. He was long supposed to have been a member of 
the Lombard school, and to have come under the immediate influence 
of Leonardo ; then, after a certain manipulation of conflicting dates, he 
was relegated to Mantua, and pronounced a disciple of Mantegna ; 
academic classicism could not brook the thought of his exemption from 
Roman influences, and proclaimed him a student of Raphael, Buonarroti, 
and the antiques of the Eternal City ; finally, by a bold and happy 
inspiration, his affiliation to these various schools was cancelled, and he 
was handed over to that of Ferrara. Correggio indeed assimilated all 
the energy of this latter, and reinforced it with the depth and grandeur 
of Mantegna's conceptions, but only to prepare himself for lofty and 
independent flight. These influences were but the point ifappiti, as it 
were, whence he rose and soared on the wings of his own genius. To 
discover their traces, we are compelled to a close analysis of his work, 
seeking them within the narrow limits of a tint, a fold, or a type. .Such 
traces, barely recognisable in his mature creations, are by no means 
proclamatory even in his juvenile works, where conventional and 
scholastic traits are already transfused with personal sentiment. 

This individuality seems to have disconcerted Vasari, who found 
it impossible to class him in the school of the Emilia. Before he 
had e.xplored the territory, and seen Correggio's work, he seems 
to have had no suspicion that art in this region was not quietly 

^■ASAR^s (RrncisM oi' correckjto 343 

working out the formula; of the fifteenth century, or that its (levelo[)- 
ment had passed beyond the stage marked by the works of l-'rancia 
and Costa. Vasari, who had spent his Hfe between Rome and I'lorence, 
looked upon the Emilian school as antiquated. We gather this from 
his acceptance of the legend that b'rancia died of mortihcation when 
he saw in Raphael's Sain^ Ccc-iiia the condemnation of his own art, 
and it is even more clearly apparent in his words, when, with ill- 
concealed wonder, he pronounces Correggio to have successfully at- 
tained to " the modern manner." ^ This unexpected discovery leads 
him to lament that the painter had never been to Rome, where " he 
would have done M'onders, and given trouble to many who in his time 
were accounted great." 

Vasari's regrets are, 01 course, unshared by those who believe 
that Correggio's originality was largely due to his isolated life. 
Michelangelo's influence, it is often said, would have been fatal to 
him ; and in support of this theory, Buonarroti's effect upon Raphael 
has been cited for the thousandth time, by those who forget, also for 
the thousandth time, that Raphael's genius was above all things 
assimilative. We think that criticism should no longer lend itself to 
these facile hypotheses and conditional theorisings. The originality ot 
Correggio would not have been easily turned aside from its natural 
artistic bent ; his genius, under the implied conditions, might rather 
have served to temper the consequences of Michelangelo's stern and 
terrible power. The life of a great intellectual centre may cither 
quicken or destroy an assimilative talent ; it has no such power over 
great original gifts. But why should we insist further ? l^ersonal 
tendencies determine the course adopted by men, and Correggio 
arrived at the summit of artistic greatness without travelling thither 
by way of Rome. 

At Parma, however, far from the direct influences alike ol 
antique art and of the great moderns, both such irresistible forces in 
Rome, he was able to preserve his own sincerity and follow out the 
bent of his peculiar aptitudes, which displayed themselves more 
especially in the movement and variety of multitudinous flgures, in 
Vik, iv. p. no. 


audacity of grouping, in a consummate mastery of perspective, com- 
bined, nevertheless, with great simplicity of conception and unity of 

His compositions are never characterised by a lofty development 
of thought or incident. The life he expresses in each subject is 
never complicated by contrasts, but unfolds itself in a smooth, con- 
tinuous harmony, broken at most only by the gradations of a 
dominant sentiment. It is a life entirely independent of realistic or 
historic elements. 

In his Last Supper, Leonardo opposed a wonderful variety of 
purely human emotions to the divine resignation of the Saviour ; 
Raphael, in his Vatican frescoes, expressed the spirit of the Papal 
Court during the Renaissance, in its extraordinary union of theological 
and humanistic activities. He emphasises this versatility by placing 
the Dispute of the Sacrament beside the School of Athens. The com- 
position of these masters is occasionally extremely simple ; but their 
spiritual intention is always complex and profound. Correggio, on the 
other hand, informs his tumultuous throngs with greater warmth and 
vivacity ; but they are all animated by some single aim, some trans- 
parent idea. He gives us no " linked sweetness " of varied harmonies, 
but one strain of infinite melody, sung by a thousand voices in unison. 
In the cupola of San Giovanni Evangclista we sec the Saviour soaring 
heavenward among his Apostles ; in the dome of the cathedral, the 
Virgin ascends, surrounded by saints and angels. Even in these two 
grand works, we are impressed by the greatness of the painter, rather 
than that of his conception, which is extremely simple, and so expressed 
that its significance is apparent at a glance. 

The dissimilarity of aim is even more striking if we compare 
Correggio's works with those of Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel, 
where life is studied under its most solemn and fateful aspect, from the 
hour of creation to the day of doom, with a poetic intensity which 
seems to vibrate between the harmonies of the Scriptures and those of 

Nevertheless, Correggio has one (juality in common with Michel- 
angelo. This is his intuitive perception of a subject as Jorni. With 


both, an idea, no matter of what nature, was not a purely psychical 
phenomenon, which oradually took substance after long fatigue and 
labour on the part of its creator ; it sprang at once into concrete 
being, as it were, and found an immediate plastic expression, so 
great was their imaginative knowledge of effect^ and their unerring 
skill of hand. Every impression which their minds received came 
to them in definite artistic form, and this is the secret of their 
individual and spontaneous style. Each, according to his tempera- 
ment and manner, set free the images of his inner vision, and gave 
them a special truth and reality, which yet show little evidence 
of direct study from actual models. This peculiarity of their genius 
may perhaps explain the fact that neither of them painted any 
portraits, either as separate studies, or in their great compositions, 
whereas these are of frequent occurrence in the cviivre of Raphael, 
Titian, and many other great masters. That Correggio's types were 
not directly derived from nature, but were idealised by passage through 
his brain, seems to be further evidenced to some extent by an ethno- 
logical fact. In the streets of Parma we meet at every turn with faces 
which recall the genial types of Parmigianino and Anselmi, whereas 
a Correggesque head is never seen. 

Now this innate cohesion of form and idea, due to the strength 
of the imaginative faculty, is more marked in Correggio and in 
Michelangelo than in any other artist of the Renaissance. 

But the intimate artistic faculty common to both these great men 
resulted in no real affinity as far as their creations are concerned. 
Other personal elements divided them sharply one from another. The 
genius of the one was grandiose, complex, and austere ; that of the 
other, simple, pellucid, joyous. 

Correggio showed himself superior to Buonarroti in his splendour 
of colour, in the restrained power of his modelling; in his joyous ease 
and animation, in the transparency of his tints, he surpassed Raphael ; 
but he is unquestionably the inferior of both in variety and in fancy, 
as in grandeur and impressive solemnity of composition. 

Allowing this, and recognising the extreme simplicity of his con- 
ceptions, it cannot be denied that he showed a lofty imagination in 

Y V 


their treatment, an admirable originality, a keen sense of breadth and 
expression in the use of line. 

Some, indeed, have quarrelled with Correggio, not only for his 
want of grandeur, but for a supposed lack of harmony in his com- 
positions. They were, perhaps, unable to pardon his rejection of 
traditional forms, his indifference to symmetry, or rather, to academic 
repose.^ Cochin condemned him for having made his Apostles in the 
cupola of San Giovanni of colossal stature, and imagines him to have 
overlooked the fact that their vast proportions would detract from the 
apparent size of the dome. The French traveller, however, ignored 
a fact Correggio wisely took into account, namely, that in the gloom 
of the dimly lighted church, the figures would have been invisible had 
they been smaller." 

It is true that Correggio is above all things a painter ; nay, more; 
he may perhaps be called the painter piu' excellence among the great 
Italians. But we may recognise this truth without detracting from his 
other qualities. Of his drawing we shall speak presently. His com- 
positions have been condemned as "uninteresting," and as " lacking in 
true beauty." It is admitted that " he grouped his figures skilfully " ; 
but, continues the critic, " his chief concern was for the distribution of 
masses in his chiaroscuro, rather than for truth of expression." 

Thus is Correggio offered up as a sacrifice by those who wish to 
glorify Raphael ! 

They ignore the severe and dignified treatment of the evangelists 
and doctors in the pendentives of San Giovanni, and of the Apostles 
in the dome above ; the lunette in the same church, with the Evan- 
gelist of Patmos, a supreme example of Correggio's mastery of line ; 
they overlook the triumphant originality of the Madonna with St. 
Jerome and the Notte, as contrasted with that obedience to accepted 
forms (in which, nevertheless, we detect a new animation) which 
characterises the first and the last of his great altar-pieces, the Madonna 
7i<itli St. Francis, and the Madonna with St. George. 

It is obvious that he was not solely preoccupied with pictorial effect, 

' Mcngs, Oj^cn; L ]i. 183. 

- Ilistoii-c lies Pciiilrcs dc toiitcs Ics Ecolcs. Lc Conii^c, by Paul Rocliciy. Paris, 1876. 


as is supposed, but that his artistic decisions were governed by an 
intense perception of pictorial unity. His treatment was further 
influenced by his anxiety to give h'fe and movement to all his figures, to 
have no inert and purposeless character in the drama. In cxpressino- 
the sentiment of 
a conception by 
the play of atti- 
tude and gesture 
he has had few- 
rivals, and this 
is the more 
remarkable, in 
that the art of 
his time sought 
beauty rather in 
harmony of lines 
than in unity 
of interest. The 
number of siipcr- 
muncrarics in- 
troduced purely 
for effect in the 
great pictures of 
the period is 
a characteristic 
feature of the 
age. In Correg- 
gio's work, on 
the other hand, 


each person has r , p r- n 

i III the Parma Gallery. 

his function. St. 

Joseph is no longer a melancholy and passive intruder ; he par- 
ticipates in the joy of the Virgin ; he gathers fruit for the Child, 
or plies his trade beside the pair. The angels no longer gaze 
from the canvas in rapt and motionless abstraction. They seek 

V V 2 



to divert the Infant Jesus ; they turn the pages of a book for him, 
offer him fruits, help St. Joseph to draw down the branches of 

the date-palm, or 
tether the ass to 
a tree. Youthful 
genii, scattered in 
joyous profusion 
throughout his 
compositions, are 
busily employed 
in supporting 
models of cities, 
pastoral staves, 
books, and mitres; 
they peer into the 
Magdalen's jar of 
ointment, or play 
with St. George's 

It is clear that 
this intensity of 
life, e.xprcssing it- 
self harmoniously 
in every detail, 
tends to the production of an emotional, rather than of a technical 
effect ; and therefore, that the artist's desire to express his thought 
was at least equal to his passion for pictorial result. 

Hence it would seem that criticism has occasionally confused 
beauty and harmony of composition with lircadth and grandeur of 
subject. The themes which agitated the minds of the pontifical court, 
and suggested the works of Michelangelo and Raphael, were no doubt 
more complex than those which contented Correggio, and demanded a 
more intense application of the intellect. 

Correggio's pictorial tendencies are, perhaps, most clearly mani- 
fested in his drawings, which rarely, if ever, consist of careful and 

the Uffizi, Florence. 



accurate studies of details, or display a very conscientious study 
of contours. They are simply impressions, the principal object of 
which is the distribution of figures, and the massing of light and 
shadow. In early times they were not very greatly valued. Vasari, 
who owned some, wrote as follows : " If Antonio had not carric^d out 
his works with that final perfection which we see in them, his drawings 
(though they are good in style, and pleasing, and show the technical 
ease of a master) 
would not have en- 
titled him to take 
that high rank won 
for him by his pic- 
tures." ^ 

As the master's 
fame increased, the 
demand for his 
drawings and their 
market value in- 
creased proportion- 
ately. Towards the 
close of the eigh- 
teenth century, we 
find Giuseppe Pi- 
nacci delivering 
himself in thiswise: 
" As to drawings, 
they are all highly 
prized when they 
are by masters of 
the first rank, I 
mean old masters. 
Mantegna, how- 
ever, is perhaps the earliest of those masters whose drawings seem 
to be equally prized as objects 

1 Vih; iv. p. 113. 


N.iples Ml 

)f study and as pleasure-givi 


possessions. The drawings most sought after are those which are 
highly finished and in good preservation. As to studies of draperies, 
feet, hands, and mere sketches of accessories, even if by famous masters, 
they are only in demand among painters ; and they are esteemed 
only if by one of three authors, when they are prized for their rarity, 

as much as for the great 
names of the draughts- 
men, that is to say, 
Michelangelo, Raphael, 
and Correggio. Every 
scrap of paper touched 
on by these is of value." ^ 
Almost at the same date 
Zanetti, speaking of 
drawings to an amateur, 
exclaimed : " You, with 
your cultivated taste, 
will be on your guard 
against those who praise 
and cry up a thing- 
worth a few pence with 
protestations and per- 
juries, trying to pass it 
off as by Titian, Cor- 
reggio, or Raphael." - 
To this higher estimate 
the new direction given 
to research contributed 
very powerfully. Early 
collectors sought ex- 
amples solely for their intrinsic interest. A desire to acquire sketches 
in order to follow the artist from his first conception to his subsequent 
corrections, tracing the evolution of his work, was a growth of the 
sixteenth century, and may be reckoned among the benefits of an age 
' Bottari, ii. ii. 121. - Vol. ii. p. 133. 




peculiarly rich In artistic activities. The Jesuit Leonardelli, in a small 
and practically unknown book, thus expands an idea of Pliny's : 
" Pictures left unfinished by gifted painters are highly prized and held 
in great consideration, because in them we discern what is not to be 
seen in the colours, but was imaged in the brain of the dead. Those 
lightly sketched heads, those imperfect features, those fragmentary 
lines, foreshadow the beauty with which the skilled hand meant to 
endow the finished work, and manifest those occult fancies which the 
brush was not permitted to set forth in their integrity as finished 
creations." ' The carelessness of Antonio's little sketches and jottings, 
for which he often atones by traits of wonderful actuality and fascinating 
vigour, has not been so freely condemned as his drawing in his great 
works. In the first edition of his Liz'cs, Vasarl indirectly accuses him 
of a want of thoroughness in his drawing by saying that if this had been 
as good as his colour, he would have "caused amazement in heaven, 
and have filled the earth with wonder." Lodovico Dolce spoke more 
plainly : " It is true that he was a better colourist than draughtsman." - 

The judgment pronounced in the middle of the sixteenth century 
was, of course, handed on with gradual exaggerations down to the 
time of Sandrart and Mengs, the latter of whom described Correggio's 
drawing as grand and fascinating, but inaccurate.'^ 

It is curious to note, however, that this accusation seems almost 
always to have been followed by certain misgivings in the minds of 
those who made it. 'Vasarl suppressed his disparaging allusions in the 
second edition of his work, and Mengs finally declared that the charge 
of inaccuracy brought against the master was, strictly speaking, a false 
one. "It is true that he did not always select objects of such simple 
forms as the ancients, that he did not display such an intimate know- 
ledge of anatomy as Michelangelo, that he made no such parade of his 
mastery of the nude as the Florentines. On the other hand, he drew 
the objects he had chosen with absolute correctness, and in none of his 
original works do we find traces of hesitation or correction." ^ We 

1 £e vere sorti, p. 337. Venice, 1684. 

- Dialogo sulla pilliini intitolato rAretino, p. 63. \'cnicc, 1557. 

3 Opcre, i. p. 51. ■* ^'"'- "• !'• i^3- 


cannot surprise Dolce in self-contradiction of the same kind. But 
when we find a writer of critical treatises declaring that Correggio was 
Giulio Romano's inferior in all save colour and charm, we may safely 
disregard his opinion, even though he flourished in that golden age of 
art — the sixteenth century. Comment is superfluous, and we need 
surely institute no comparison between Correggio's magnificent figures 
of the Apostles, and the contorted, uncouth Giants of the Palazzo del 
Te at Mantua. 

Here and there in his works it is certainly possible to find 
defects of drawing, as in the Saviour's left arm in the Coronation 
of the Virgin, and in the right arm of the Dan'de. But were it 
the true function of criticism to judge a master, not by his work 
in its integrity, but by microscopic details, none could hope to 
escape censure, for no work of man is perfect, and it was only in 
graceful hyperbole that Andrea del Sarto was hailed " the faultless 

Such censure as applied to Correggio is still less justifiable when 
not only the weakness of certain details, and the obscurity of certain 
foreshortenings is laid to his charge, but when he is further reproached 
with that vagueness of contours, and that freedom of lines character- 
istic of his work, where there is no ostentatious display of anatomical 
research, and no very scrupulous continuity of outline. When, on the 
other hand, we recognise the profound knowledge of the human 
body shown by Correggio ; when we note the ease and originality 
that marks his rendering of its most intricate attitudes and move- 
ments, the infinite variety he gives to the play of the extremities — feet 
seen from every imaginable point of view, hands bent, outstretched, 
folded, or clustering together with extraordinary diversity of gesture — 
we are lost in amazement, and turn from contemplation of his works 
with a conviction that not even Michelangelo himself propounded or 
solved such an infinity of problems. 

So great indeed was the wondering admiration roused by these 
effects, that a curious legend sprang up in connection with them. 

Scannelli, who was the first to refer to It, tells us that in his time 
it was commonly reported that Correggio made use of small clay 


models suspended above him to serve as guides in the process of 
foreshortening. The story was repeated from lime to time, and 
gradually found acceptance. The modeller, whom Scannelli stated 
to have been "a friend, who was a skilful worker in relief,"' was 
shortly afterwards identil'ied with Antonio Begarelli ! '-' Ratli, in his 
turn, embellished the tale so much that he only just sto[»s short of 
pronouncing Begarelli the real author of the frescoes in the cupola of 
the cathedral ! " Of each figure," he writes, " Begarelli made a clay 
model for Correggio, and he also made a model of the cornice round 
the dome for him, so that he might be able to observe the right effects 
with all possible exactness." I'ut even this was not enough. Katti 
further tells us that the painter, Giuliano Traballesi (who livt;d from 
172; to I Si 2), "had found one of the models in the soffit of the 
cu[)ola " while studying at Parma. '^ 

The student who marks Correggio's predilection for perspective 
effects, even in the early works painted under the influence of 
Mantegna ; who notes its gradual development in the pictures and 
frescoes which preceded his great undertaking in the cathedral ; who 
perceives that not one of the innumerable figures is a repetition of the 
other, and above all, that chiaroscuro and values play the principal 
part in determining his effects, can only wonder that this absurd fable, 
which was never heard of till a century after the death of Correggio, 
and then was probably only advanced by way of hypothesis, should 
have been so widely circulated, and should even have found accept- 
ance among artists ! 

His true aids in resolving the intricate problems of movement were 
unquestionably his own faculties of retention and induction. Every 
such problem presented itself to his inner vision in a concrete form, 
as if some Titan were holding up the nude figures before him with a 
colossal hand, or hurling them into space to enable him to surprise 
their attitudes. Here, as Vasari says, he showed himself "a won- 
derful deviser of all sorts of difficulties." * 

' Miavcosiiio, \). 275. 

2 INIengs, ii. pp. 140, 160. Tiraboschi, pp. 246, 319. Pungileoni, i. pp. 157, 171- 
:, etc. - Ratti, pp. 71-72. ' F//f , iv. p. 1 1 1 . 

z z 


The artist who ideaHses, basing his idealisation on truth, is what we 
mean by a genius. In nature, there are forms and sounds which the 
mind of man grasps and retains with varying intensity. Some see and 
feel with the senses alone, and have no true comprehension of the 
images that present themselves. Others have a certain comprehension, 
but forget easily ; others again, though they may not forget, do not 
readily evoke the images that lie dormant in their souls when they 
labour to reproduce them. It is only the highest order of minds that 
perceive and retain with equal readiness. All they see penetrates by 
their senses to their souls, and lingers there In clear and definite form, 
ready to spring forth at the call of the artificer. By such minds, forms 
are not directly reproduced In words, nor by the brush, nor by musical 
notes, as a photographic camera or a phonograph might reproduce 
them, or. Indeed, as modern art, intent on the lay-figure, not un- 
frequently does. Images sink deeply into their souls, and there, 
In ceaseless activity, in ceaseless modification, they accomplish their 
spiritual metamorphosis. 

Criticism, we think, has hardly ever shown Itself In a narrower or 
more unworthy form than in the theory of a certain commentator, who 
supposed that Dante observed natural phenomena, and made notes 
of them, in order to Introduce them as similes or comparisons in the 
Divine Comedy. 

Memories and images teemed in Uante's brain. His work was a 
constant evocation of all that life had poured into his heart. Beethoven 
wrote his marvellous Ninth Symphony after he had become deaf. Its 
notes were not suggested to him from without, they gushed from the 
well of harmony within. Galileo In his blindness, expounding new 
discoveries in natural laws, moved onward with unabated energy in the 
paths of heaven. 

The triumph of Correggio's art lies in this, that the workings of his 
own psychologic personality informed the simplest themes with a noble 
poetry, and that by their means he arrived at the loftiest ideality. 

Returning to the legend, we may ask what need our painter would 
have had of Begarelli's help, if, as the biographers who are responsible 
for the fable say, he himself was also a sculptor .-* But the confusion of 


ideas which led to this second statement is no more worthy of atteiiiion 
than Father Resta's assertion that Correggio worked as an architect.' 

Among certain of Correggio's devotees, indeed, there seems to 
have been a disinclination to allow that he was a painter only. They 
regretted that he had not the versatility of other great artists of the 
Renaissance, such as Leon Battista Alberti, Leonardo, and Michelangelo, 
who distinguished themselves in a variety of the arts and sciences. 
Correggio, who came from Nature's hands with the temperament of ;i 
great painter, followed his vocation with a single heart, allowing;' no 
extraneous influences to distract him from his unity of purpose. 

The predominant sentiment of his creations is joy. Nevertheless, 
he has expressed sorrow and austerity upon occasion as truthfully as 
any of his contemporaries, in the agonised contraction of the sorrowing 
X^irgin's face, for instance, in the mournful resignation of Jesus, the 
ecstatic faith of St. Placidus, the inspiration of St. John the Evangelist. 
But he is more successful in the rendering of individual sorrow, than in 
depicting a complex tragedy. A head, a figure, perhaps even a small 
group, may bear the impress of suffering, but we rarely feel that the 
emotion is shared by those around them. Correggio could not linger 
over mournful subjects ; his treatment of them is always summary. 
This is very noticeable in his Descent front the Cross and the 
RIartyrdoin of St. Placidus, which, though they have passages of great 
beauty, are among the least satisfactory of the master's works. 

On the other hand, his own delighted emotion overflows when he 
can fittingly give himself up to the expression of triumphant life, ol 
laughter, of rapture ! 

Michelangelo, always grandiose and disdainful, seldom smiled him- 
self, and seldom created a smiling face. When his statue of Julius II. 
was first displayed, it was asked whether he had intended to represent 
the Pope in the act of blessing or of cursing. Lofty and generous, he 
was saddened by scorn of the ignoble conflicts which rent Italy asunder, 
and finally destroyed her liberty, leading at last to the solemn con- 
secration of her slavery by the coronation of Charles \'. He was the 
artist of the grave and the sublime. 

1 .See Mengs, ii. p. 140. Tiraboschi, vi. p. 245. Piingilconi, i. !>. 177 ; ii. pp. iqC), 20^>, etc. 


Raphael touched the classic dignity of his forms with the mingled 
sweetness and melancholy of his own angelic character. His 

Fr.-isment from the Picta in the Parma Gallery. 

Madonnas often seem to gaze at the Child witli infinite sadness, as if 
presaging the mournful end, and agitated by the vision of Calvary. 

COkRlXUJO'S '-ri"!"!'!' 557 

Leonardo, the darlini,r of Nature, showed a deeper and nion; varied 
range of fcehng'. To him was it first given to " portray the joy of 
spiritual bliss, the intimate beauty of the soul." His heart and mind 
brooded on every problem of art and science, eager to embrace all 
knowledge. He designed buildings, in\ented machines, studied the 
operations of water and of light, the structure of plants, the habits of 
animals, the anatomy of the human body. He sought the beautiful in 
all things, and strove to reproduce it with the perfection of technical 
mastery. A great artist, he divined and resolved an infinity of scientific 
problems, " the poet and the prophet of aesthetics and of knowledge." 
The very universality of his genius prevented the concentration of his 
powers, and he died, leaving a few pictures of the highest psychological 
and technical beauty, in which, nevertheless, we miss that variety of 
attitude, and that full development of human expression achieved by 

By the latter, joyful emotion is rendered with so much charm, com- 
pleteness, and spontaneity that it communicates itself as if by magic to 
the spectator. This faculty of the painter's was noted so long ago as 
the sixteenth century. Vasari, Annibale Carracci, and Guido Reni 
declared that Correggio's /?//// breathe, live, and laugh with such grace 
and truth that we are compelled to laugh with them. 

The innumerable cherubs, genii, and children scattered throughout 
his works are the result of his delight in the pictorial expression ol 
grace and happiness. No other painter has succeeded in rendering 
these little creatures with such truth of form and expression, with such 
a knowledge of their naive simplicity and pretty grotesqueness of pose, 
although, after his time, the palaces and churches of half Europe were 
invaded by laughing infant hordes. John Addington Symonds writes 
as follows of the put fi in the cupola of San Giovanni Evangelista : "Cor- 
reggio has sprinkled them lavishly like living flowers about his cloud- 
land, because he could not sustain a grave and solemn strain of music, 
but was forced by his temperament to overlay the melody with roulades. 
Gazing at these frescoes, the thought came to me that Correggio was 
like a man listening to sweetest flute-playing, and translating phrase 


after phrase as they passed through his fancy into laughing faces, 
breezy tresses, and rolling mists. Sometimes a grander cadence 
reached his ear ; and then St. Peter with the keys, or St. Augustine 
of the mighty brow, or the inspired eyes of .St. John, took form beneath 
his pencil. lUit the light airs returned, and rose and lily bloomed again 
for him among the clouds." ^ 

We have already noted how this unbridled expression of warm, 
living, intoxicating joy betrayed him occasionally into that bewildering 
multiplication of figures in violent motion which characterises his 
frescoes in the cathedral. But even here we must accept this as a 
manifestation of subjective impression, and it were unjust to reproach 
Correggio for having satisfied his own spiritual needs and expressed 
his own technical mastery. Michelangelo was guilty of exaggera- 
tion in his treatment of anatomical forms, because he had become 
an expert in such treatment, and was impelled to a manifestation 
of his power. In Correggio's art, movement played the same part 
as did modelling in that of Buonarroti. He could not even 
refrain from an excessive application of it in the c/iiarosniri which 
simulated statuary, thus depriving them of a proper " sculpturesque; 

Correggio's happiest gift lay in his power of rendering grace and 
sweetness without over-passing the exact point where such grace 
and sweetness degenerate into an insipid elegance. The robust and 
healthy structure of his figures saved him from this pitfall ; the 
vigorous painters of the Bolognese school showed their appreciation of 
this when they refused to allow a comparison between Parmigianino 
and Correggio, declaring that the former had diverged too widely from 
his master, by exaggerating his grace and "impairing his purity of 
attitude and propriety of pose." 

The introduction of the same little genii in his sacred and profane 

subjects, the expression of happy enjoyment which characterises them 

in both, and the identity of their pictorial treatment in all his works, 

has been a frequent theme for censure among critics of Correggio's 

I Skc/,ht's in Ihilw p. 154. Leipzig, 1SS3, 

art. He has been rcitroachccl with ha\in;^ failed to cinijhasise the 
distinction between the frail oods of antiquity and tin: saints of the 
new dispensation, and to have made the joy of life a characteristic 
of both. 

The confusion of terms, and the inherent weakness of the argument, 
are alike obvious. 

It is true that Correggio's saints display little depth and fervour of 
religious sentiment. Even in those early works, which seem still to 
exhale the lingering perfume of fifteenth-century feeling, we find few 
traces of the ascetic and contemplative spirit. 

The heads of St. Placidus and St. Flavia may, perhaps, be quoted 
as exceptions to this rule ; yet even the dramatic figures of the fainting 
Virgin, the dead Christ, and certain others, awaken feelings of sympathy 
and pity for human suffering, rather than a sense of adoring veneration. 
But we must not hold Correggio solely responsible for a defect, or 
rather, for a sentiment, characteristic of the art of his age, which had 
become sensuous and worldly, a result due in a great measure to its 
advance in technical mastery. He undoubtedly showed a greater 
sympathy with "mundane joy" than other artists; but he was by no 
means guilty of a scandalous innovation in art ! The severe and 
lofty ideality of Michelangelo and Raphael, the solemn grandeur of 
Titian and Tintoretto, when opposed to the airy simplicity, the 
ingenuous naturalism of Correggio, seem to convict the latter ol an 
excessive humanisation of his themes, whereas all the artistic forces of 
his age combined to materialise Christianity. Nevertheless, il Cor- 
reggio, in his catholic choice of subjects, shows less susceptibility even 
than the majority of his contemporaries to Christian sentiment, it 
cannot truthfully be laid to his charge that he showed no sense of 
appropriate expression, and that his X'irgins are scarcely distinguishable 
from his nymphs. There is nothing in common between the chaste 
smile of his .S7. Jerome Madonna and the sensual satisfaction of his 
Daiuic, between the gentle weariness of the Ziugarclla and the 
voluptuous slumber of the Aiiliopc. The difference is sharply defined, 
denied though it may be by those who turn from contemplation of 


his intoxicated pagan divinities to his Madonnas, scekinLj; in tlic 
latter, nut the sweet and tender mother, but the mystic and exaked 
creature,' and raising the unprofitable question of the moral functions 
of art. 

Art is, above all things, form ; the sensuality which is made a 
reproach to certain painters, and the spirituality for which others are 
praised, are in many cases merely the result of pictorial type and 
technique. What innumerable pecans have been raised to the pure 
and mystic sentiment of the Pre-Raphaelites ! It was long before 
it was admitted that this sentiment was largely due to the forms and 
colour of Giotto and his disciples. 

Unable as yet to render the varied movements of the human body 
with that ease and mastery displayed by the great painters of the 
Renaissance, infant art was compelled by its inexperience to preserve 
an ideal calm in the rendering of figures, and to give an expression 
of religious intentness to its so-called "choral masses." 

To later artists, from Masaccio onwards, the portrayal of two 
precisely similar figures would have appeared an evidence of Inferior 
ability and poverty of imagination. Giotto and his scholars, on the 
other hand, did not hesitate to represent some hundred persons all 
turned In the same direction, and with arms extended or laid 
together in the same manner. Their draperies do not follow the 
lines of the body, and hence it seems as if there were no limbs 
concealed beneath the folds. This gives their figures an unearthly 
appearance, as If they had alighted for a moment, pausing In some 
aerial llight, and ready to mount again at the first sign from 

Their almond eyes, which have no transparency, no luminous 
gleam to Indicate lustre and convexity, seem to be mirrors of pro- 
found abstraction, In which faith has quenched all traces of human 
desire, while the pallor of the carnations, which results from glazes laid 
on over a green ground, seems to hint at suffering and self-denial, 
rigorous fasts, long nights si)ent in prayer and meditation. 
' " 'i'cnn by tlic eternal cuunscl pre-ordained.' 


If therefore ihe an of ihe fourleenlh century appeared to be 
mystical in its tendencies, because of the imperfect means of (ex- 
pression at its command, it is only natural that tlic art which had 
obtained an absolute mastery of form and (>xprf-ssion should seem 
worldly and material. 

No figure created by an .artist of the Renaissance was likely to 

the Borghcse Gallery, 

be accepted as a miraculous image by the populace. Byzantines and 
fourteenth-century effigies were readily accounted of supernatural 
origin by the mass of the de\-out. Their very ugliness and want of 
objective truth were their best recommendations. They seemed the 
more marvellous to the credulous the more they diverged from reality, 
from the normal types of men and women. Many perceive super- 


human qualities where humanity is lacking, and discern the divine in 
the unnatural. 

Not one of the fair and blooming Madonnas of the Renaissance, 
with their sweet and smiling humanity, least of all those painted by 
Correggio, received a tithe of the devout gifts and prayers lavished on 
some dry, angular Byzantine figure, or some pallid and sleepy Virgin 
of the fourteenth century. 

How indeed is it to be supposed that such creations as the 
JMadomia dclla Scodclla, or the Madonna with St. George, should 
awaken that sense of melancholy proper to spiritual peace .'' They are 
but fair and graceful women, loving mothers, caressing their children, 
and smiling at their gambols, full of life and health and joy. Their 
faces bear no traces of suffering and privation ; they glow, as Vasari 
says, as if t/ic brush had laid on living flesh. Artists will worship 
their beauty, but just as he is untouched by the sight of young and 
loving womanhood, the ascetic remains cold before these pictures, 
which recall some familiar domestic scene. 

This tendency, which is common to all the artists of the Renaissance, 
is more apparent perhaps in Correggio than in any other, owing to the 
geniality of his types, and the joyous character of his sentiment and 
technique ; but his art, as was inevitable, reflected the impressions and 
responded to the demands of the age in which he lived, working out 
its natural and logical development. We think it is time to abandon 
once for all the idea of art as one of the various manifestations of 
free will, due entirely to personal initiative ; rather ought we to look 
upon it as an involuntary growth or blossom of the human mind, which, 
like the earth itself, has its appointed seasons. 

The study of forms and pictorial types should precede that of 
sentiment, to enable us to judge how far the latter is an emanation from 
the former, a spontaneous result which the artist has produced without 
conscious effort. 

Correggio's facial type, his drawing, the magic of his colour, 
humanised his sacred subjects on the one hand, while, on the other, 
they gave a spirituality to the grossness of pagan themes. 


It must be admitted that as compared with Correggio's, Titian's 
pagan nudities are ahnost vulgar in their abundant development and 
vigorous warmth of colour. 

Correggio, on the other hand, while expressing all the intoxication 
of love and pleasure in the smiles and movements of his figures, is yet 
able to suggest a sensuality without corruption, dematerialised, so to 
speak. The youthful sweetness of their faces, the ingenuous grace of 
their attitudes, the virginal litheness of their figures, the .soft and deli- 
cate tones of their carnations, make us accept his lo, his Daniie, his 
Leda, as innocent maidens, surprised into a first manifestation of frailty. 

Burckhardt declares that as regards mere technique, Correggio 
may be taken to represent the last and highest development of Italian 

The process in which his master)- is most complete is the treatment 
of chiaroscuro, the difficulties of which engrossed so many artists of the 
sixteenth century, without any very marked result save in the cases of 
Leonardo and Giorgione. Leonardo, in the gradation of his tones, a 
o-radation almost imperceptible owing to their marvellous fusion, was in 
danger of overlooking the very essence of painting ; according to him, 
decision of outline was no longer necessary for the modelling of surfaces 
in relief He too attempted to render the play of refiected light, but 
it was reserved to Correggio to introduce chiaroscuro even in his 
shadows, thus achieving a transparency of effect which is wanting in 
the works of his great predecessors, as in those of his subsequent 
imitators. After him, strong contrasts of light and shade came sud- 
denly into vogue, and his successors lost the secret of that exquisite 
truth of tones in shadow which he had achieved. With what delicate 
gradations he often obtained his effects of relief may be seen if we 
examine some of the tints he used in shadow, tints which in the chro- 
matic scale of other great artists (Leonardo and Raphael, for instance) 
only appear in the illuminated passages. Yet it is to this very half-light 
that the superficial grace of the human body is mainly due.^ 

1 To judge of the degree of perfection attained by Correggio in the treatment of 
penumbra and reflections, the visitor to the Dresden Gallery sliould compare tlie 


Thanks to his masterly use of chiaroscuro in all its gradations, and 
his avoidance of violent contrasts of light and shadow, he achieved 
the most extraordinary force of colour by successive glazings. Light 
was thus diffused among the figures and objects he painted, pene- 
trating to the subordinate parts of the composition, and producing so 
novel and perfect an illusion that all the forms he represented seem 
actually to move in space. 

Early biographers and writers of treatises, though they overlook 
these special qualities, are loud in their praises of his colour and his 
use of the brush. Vasari first asserted that "no one excelled him in 
laying on colour, and no artist painted with greater beauty and relief; 
such was the mellow quality of his Oesh-tones, and the grace with 
which he finished his works." Lomazzo, in a phrase which greatly 
impressed Domenichino, said he who wished to possess two pictures 
of the highest perfection should have had an Adam drawn by Michel- 
angelo and painted by Titian, and an Eve drawn by Raphael and 
painted by Correggio. He adds that these pictures would have been 
the finest ever known in the world. ^ The opinion is debatable, but it 
proves that towards the close of the sixteenth century our painter was 
accounted the most superb of colourists. Shortly afterwards, Baldinucci 
speaks of his tints as marvellous, melting, laid on as if i^'ith vapoia:- 
Nor has there been occasion to modify this opinion in any successive 
school of criticism. 

Some of Correggio's characteristics of st\le reappear in the works 
of other artists of Upper Italy. Lanzi very justly remarked that he 
had certain affinities with Giorgionc,"' who, by the inevitable law of 
artistic evolution, was following in the steps of Leonardo. But in senti- 
ment and colour, Correggio was more closely allied to Lorenzo Lotto. 
It has been suggested that Lotto was first a pupil of Leonardo, and 

Madonna K<ith St. George and the Madonna di San Sisto, Raphael's most perfect work, 
and one of the most marvellous pictures in the world in ideality and execution. The 
shadows on the carnations, especially in the hands and feet of Raphael's Virgin, seem 
opaque and almost sooty in comparison with those of Correggio's flesh-tints. 

1 Idea del tcmpio della piitiira, chap, xviii. Bottari, ii. p. 393. 

" Rottari, ii. p. 521. "■ Op/et he. cit. 


that he afterwards imitated Correggio. But here again we think the 
affinities are merely accidental, or, to be more exact, that they were 
the independent results of social conditions and of the development 
of artistic expression^ ?»T<M-clli adds that it was Correggio's enviable 
lot to draw from the chords first struck by Leonardo, Giorgionc, and 
Lorenzo Lotto the sweetest and most complete harmony .'- 

The sparkling effect of his lights gave rise to all sorts of odtl 
suspicions among the turbid colourists of the baroqitc period, as to 
the supposed preparation of the panels on which he painted. A 
variety of legends bearing on his technical methods were current in 
the eighteenth century. Richardson, among others, declared that 
Correggio painted on a gold ground," and an artist admitted to 
Lanzi that he believed " Correggio habitually exposed his pictures 
to the heat of the fire, or to the sun, in order to blend his colours 
well together and diffuse them equall)-, which process had given them 
the appearance of having been melted together, rather than laid on 
with the brush." 

The ground on which Correggio painted was compounded, as a 
fact, u{ i^csso, boiled oil, and varnish, and in no wise differed from that 
in common use among other careful masters of his lime. Nor was 
there anything unusual in the plaster preparation on which he paintetl 
his frescoes. His use of the brush was marvellously delicate, both 
in his great works and in small jjictures. Mis tones were oI)tained 
by building up successive layers of colour, or glazes, which enabled 
him to correct his drawing as he paintetl. His aversion to everything 
which tended to make his colour dense and opaque was so strong, that 
he preferred to leave the traces of corrections perfectly apparent, as 
we notice in the uplifted finger of Christ's right hand in the Descent 

' Bernard Berenson, Lonnzo Lotto, p. 325. London, 1S95. 

'- Italian Painters, ii. ji. 153. 

2 Pungileoni, i. p. 20 ; ii. p. 35. Certain argentine reflections in his pictures suggested 
to impressionable critics the use of the term sidereal to describe Correggio's light. Others 
found the phrase too vague, and endeavoured to define the effect more closely by 
christening it crepusdilar. The two adjectives were well received, and mo\-cd the souls 
of the cesthetes who find in impressions a fertile field for chatter of this class. 


/ro/// the Cross, and in the shortened finger of St. Jerome's left 

A painter before all things, it is evident that he not only corrected 
with his brush, but that he made a free use of it in drawing. Innumer- 
able details in his pictures, more especially the extremities, are rendered 
entirely by gradations of colour, and show no trace of definite outline. 
This method, a most dangerous one in the hands of a mediocre artist, 
produced the most mellow and enchanting results under the direction 
of his genius. Scannelli is impatient of Vasari's habit of dilating on 
minutia;, but there is reason in the biographer's thrice-repeated admi- 
ration of the manner in which Correggio painted hair : "so beautiful in 
colour, and so exquisitely rendered, thread by thread, that nothing 
better can be seen," and " a perfect lesson in the art of treating it." 
Thus says the biographer, while in the Proem to the third part of 
his Lives, he had already written : " It would be impossible to describe 
the exquisite vivacity of his works, and the manner in which he treated 
hair thread by thread, not in the elaborate manner of his predecessors, 
which was dry, laborious, and metallic, but with a feathery softness, 
noting the strands, and rendering them with such facility that they 
seemed to be of gold, and mure beautiful than real tresses, which could 
not compare with them for colour." ' But we need .say no more. To 
dwell any longer on Correggio's characteristics would be only to repeat 
much that has already been noted in describing his various pictures, 
and would be of little service to the reader, familiar, no doubt, with 
some of his works, and further al)le to judge of them to some extent 
from the reproductions in this volume. 

We have endeavoured not to allow ourselves to be carried away 
by love of our subject, scrupulously recording all that has been 
said both for and against Correggio, though the critic is often 
tempted to become the panegyrist before the works of a genius so 
individual as to justify the well-known phrase, " the Correggiosity of 

Even those least disposed to admire his forms, the rigid devotees 
' \V)1. iv. pp. 12, 115, 1 19. 


of Florentine dignity and correctncjss, cannot hut admit the fascination 
that breathes from a thousand lovely cn^ations, moving and smiling in 
the effulgent light of morning and spring. 

This is the " demoniac power," as Goethe calls it, which ink)rms 
the work of the great creative genius. The magic of form, the in- 
toxication of movement and sentiment, awak(>n an emotion against 
which reason and criticism are alike powerless. All defects are for- 
gotten, and, filled with wondering admiration, we recognise the artist's 
greatness in our own sense of delighted enjoyment. 


'">*' . ~%^ 






IN our study of Correggio 
we have tried to paint the 
society by which he was 
surrounded, and the events of 
which he was a witness. But so 
far we have only casually men- 
tioned his pupils, and those artists 
who were most strongly influ- 
enced by him. 

Allegri's sojourn in Parma 
was the immediate cause of an 
artistic evolution, which has 
scarcely been appreciated at its 
true importance. A band of en- 


thusiastic youncr men followed in his footsteps, producing works of 
considerable merit, which sufficiently refute the assertion that Correggio 
founded no school. 

We have followed the histor>- of painting In Parma down to about 
the year 1520. \Y(; have seen that it was first a modest offshoot of 
the school of Cremona, and that Venetian and Bolonnesc inllucmccs 
invested it with a certain beauty and animation, under the impulse of 
which it produced works not wanting in dignity and earnestness, but 
at the same time of a purely imitative character. 

Early art in Parma was, in fact, no product of indigenous taste and 
knowledge, but an importation of ideas and formulx-, derived not merely 
from without the city, but from without the territory in which it lay. 

We have shown what must have been the impression produced by 
the works of the young artist of twenty-four from Correggio, who 
painted the Abbess Giovanna's chamber. Tcmperelli, Araldi, and the 
elder Mazzoli undertook no more great works, and their disciples, even 
such as were connected with them by ties of kinship, deserted them, 
and gave themselves up to contemplation of the radiant creations of 
the new genius. 

From about 15 18 several young Parmese artists had studied in the 
old schools, modestly satisfied with the results if they succeeded in 
adding a little beauty to the forms, a little animation to the colour, of 
their masters. Girolamo IMazzola-Bedoli, Giorgio Gandino del Grano, 
Francesco Maria Rondani, Parmigianino, and others, all more or 
less of the same age as Antonio, with one accord abandoned their 
former teachers to enrol themselves as his disciples, with the earnest 
enthusiasm of youth and faith. Incipit vita nova. 

None of these, with the exception of Francesco Mazzola, achieved 
any great distinction. Their works are to be met with in most of the 
European galleries, either pompously ascribed to Allegri or Parmi- 
gianino, or, more cautiously, to the school of Parma. 

Hence their history is almost unknown ; the sketches of their 
lives hitherto given teem with mistakes and inaccuracies, which 
we will endeavour briefly to correct by the help of contemporary 


We have seen that Rondani was the one who seems to have been 
most closely connected with the master, acting as his assistant in 
several of his works. He was born at Parma in 1490, and was there- 
fore several years older than Correggio. It has been asserted, on what 

evidence we know- 
not, that he died in 
1548. He was cer- 
tainly living at the 
end of November 
of that year. He 
is first mentioned, 
jointly with his 
brothers, in a will 
. dated 1 504 ; he 
then appears as 
witness to a deed 
of 1 512, but he is 
not described as 
master nor as 
painter. He after- 
wards worked on 
the decorations at 
Torchiara, and in 
San Giovanni 
Evangelista, where 
he painted the 
frieze designed by 

he was commis- 
sioned by the Chapter ot the cathedral to decorate a portion of the 
transept, but he never carried out this work. Two years later he 
painted several scutcheons in the governor's palace. He then worked 
for the Benedictines, decorating the cloister of the novices with scenes 
from the life of their patron saint ; he also painted some frescoes in 
the refectory, and decorated the soffits of one of the chapels of their 


church. Ik'tvvcfn 1527 and 1531 he; iVcsccMal ihc walls of the; Ccnloni 
chaiK'l in ihr cathnlral ; he subscqiicnlly worked in the church of Sani' 
Alcssandro, and collaborated with Anselnii in the decorations of the 
vault of the Oratorio della Concczione in San Francesco. \'erv few 
of his easel pictiu-es ha\c survived. Some of these he signed with 
his name, on others 
he painted the three 
swallows of his coat 
of arms. He fol- 
lowed Correggio's 
manner as closely as 
he could, but his 
drawing is often 
coarse, and his exe- 
cution slovenly. His 
works have, how- 
ever, a certain viva- 
city of colour and 
breadth of composi- 
tion, and in his land- 
scape backgrounds 
he shows a talent 
certainly above the 
average.^ He was, 
however, greatly in- 
ferior, not only to his 
master, but to Michel- 
angelo Anselmi, who ,„ ,|,^. j,-,pie, Mu.:um. 
had had the advan- 
tage of an early training in the Tuscan school. (Sec illustration on p. 367.) 

' The materials for the notices of artists given in this chapter arc mainly taken from 
the valuable unpublished extracts from contemporary documents made by E. Scarabelli- 
Zunti (now in the Royal Museum of Parma), to which we have before referred. .See also 
Romualdo '&s:\%X.xocc\\\, Notizic dei pi f tori che hivorarono in Parma, MS., and Bertoluzzi, 
Descrizione della cappella dclla Concezione, MS. {Miscellanea, no. 1106, in the J'alatinc 
T.ibrary, Parma). 


Anselmi was bom in 1491 at Lucca, whertt his father, a native of 
Parma, was living in exile. From Lucca he removed with his family 
to Siena, about 1500. At Siena ho entered Sodoma's studio, remaining 
in the city after his father was permitted to return to Parma in 1505. 
There is a Visitation of little beauty at Siena, painted by him for the 
Confraieniita di Fontc Giitsta. In reference to his long sojourn in 
Siena, he was known as Michelangelo Senese. The first documents 
in which his name occurs are dated April, 1520. They speak of him 
as a citizen of Parma, and deal with a donation made to him by 
his uncle, Francesco Anselmi, and with the dowry of his bride, one 
Ippolita Gaibazzi. The influence of Correggio's genius is very appar- 
ent in his art. Among his first works at Parma were the arabesques 
on the vaulting of the nave in San Giovanni Evangelista, e.xecuted, 
as we have already seen, under Correggio's direction. From this time 
forward he worked indefatigably ; nearly all the principal churches of 
Parma contain pictures or frescoes by him, and there are examples 
of his work in many Italian and foreign galleries. In 153S-39 he was 
at Busseto, where he decorated the Cappella della Concezione of the 
principal church with frescoes. Gave published a petition addressed by 
him to the Signoria of .Siena in 1544, from which it appears that he was 
known by the nickname of Sialalirino (mad-cap). It has been suggested 
that the petitioner was a namesake, but it seems not improbable that 
he should have returned to try his luck in the place where his youth 
had been spent. In the document he calls himself Michelangelo, alias 
Scalabrino. It is further to be noted that in the sequence of Parmesan 
documents in which he is mentioned, there is a gap between 1542 and 
1546. He returned to Parma, and died there in 1554. He was one 
of the most gifted of Correggio's pupils, perhaps, indeed, the most 
gifted. His works have a pleasing animation ; the colour is warm and 
luminous, the drawing careful and refined. Sometimes, however, there 
is an appearance of exaggerated movement and contortion in his 
figures, and in the multitudinous folds of their complicated draperies.^ 
{See illustration on p. 347.) 

' Baistrocchi and Rertoluzzi, documents in the Palatine l-ibrary, already cjuoted. 
O. Claye, Carteggio iuedito d' nrtisti dci sccoli, \iv. xv. ( xvi., ii. ]>. 325. Florenrc, 1S39. 
Meyer, Attgemeines Kinistla-fAwikoii, ii. p. 86. I,ei|izi_u', 1.S70. 


These two painu:i-s, Roiul.mi aiul Ans<;lini. were the only ones 
among his pupils wliom Corn'goio employed as his assistants, and 
to whom he confkh^d the minor di'tails of his works. 

Among the many otliers who formed their style und(!r his inlluence, 
the most famous is Francesco Mazzola, called Parmi-ianino, I^orn in 
Parma, January, 1503. His father, Filippo, died when he was only 
two years old, and he afterwards learnt the elements of drawing and 
painting in the studio of his uncles, Pier Ilario and Michele Mazzola. 
He may therefore be quoted as one of the innumerable examples of 
"artistic heredity." His natural aptitudes were exceptional, and at 
the age of sixteen he painted a 
Baptism of C/n-is/, which has 
tlisappeared. Just at this critical 
juncture, Allegri appeared in 
Parma, and determined the future 
course of the youthful prodigy. 
Parmigianino's talent has, how- 
ever, a personal note which makes 
it impossible to consider him 
merely as the pupil or imitator of 
Correggio. His frescoes on the 
soffits in San Giovanni Evangel- 
ista, some of which are still in ad- 
mirable condition, date from i 522, ' I„ ,|!c UIT,/i (bllerv 
and were painted immediately 

after his return from Viadana, whither his parents had sent him that he 
might be safe from those perils of war we have described. He engaged 
to paint one of the bays of the cathedral ; but as the preliminaries of 
this undertaking were not carried out with sufficient expedition by 
the churchwardens, his impatience to go to Rome and see the works of 
Raphael and Michelangelo, tlelermined him to resign the commission. 
He left Parma in 1523, carrying with him sampk's of his works to 
submit to Clement VH., who hatl jusl been elected Pope. He re- 
mained some years in Rome, where he was largely employed and 
patronised. He is said to ha\-e been extremely handsome, and 


there is a tradition that he found favour with the famous courtesan, 

The perils of the terrible sack in 1527 forced him to take his 
departure. Vasari relates that he barely escaped with his life, " inas- 
much as, at the beginning of the sack, he w-as so intent on his work, 
that when the soldiers began to enter the houses, and some Germans 
were already in his own, he was not distracted by the tumult ; when, 
however, the soldiers came upon him, and saw him painting, they were 

so astonished at his work, that, like good fellows as they must have 
been, they allowed him to continue it." 

On his way back, he halted at Bologna, where he painted several 
pictures. After the coronation of Charles V.. whose portrait he painted, 
he returned to Parma. In 1531 he undertook to decorate the vault of the 
presbytery and of the apse, and the dome of the Stciccata ; but he worked 
slowly and fitfully, distracted Ijy his impatient temper, and by his absorp- 
tion in the mysteries of alchemy. Hence arose many disputes between 
the artist and the guardians of the church. Piqued and angry, heat last 


left Parma in dudgeon. 1 1 was then that he became the guest of Sanvitale 
at the Castle of l'"onlaiiellato, whrrc he: painted the vault of a small 
room with scenes from the legend of Diana and Actceon. In 1535 he- 
renewed his agreement for the decorations in the Steccata, and began 
to work there. But fresh causes of quarrel soon arose, and neither 
concessions, nor the friend- 
ly interposition of out- 
siders, availed to recall 
him to a sense of his ob- 
ligations. He therefore 
painted only a few figures 
of the great work he 
had undertaken — Moses, 
Aaron, Adam, Eve, and 
the Wise Virgins. Furious 
at the threats of the war- 
dens, and perhaps doubt- 
ful of his own ability to 
carry out a vast scheuK: 
of decoration which might 
bear comparison with the 
two cupolas painted liy 
Correggio, he retired, al- 
most as a fugiti\'e, to 
Casalmaggiore, where he 
died after a brief illness 
at the early age of thirty- 
seven. ^ ,„ „,, ^.,p|„ M,,,.„„, 

He has been justly 

accused of painting figures of abnormal length, and of an affected 

and effeminate type. Albani described him as " intent on the 

manufacture of nymphs.' It is, however, impossible to deny his 

1 \'asari, V. [>. 217 d St\/. Baistrocchi, Notizic dci piltori. Affo, Vita del grazwsissiino 
pittore Francesco Mazzola, detto I'l Fannigianitio. Parma, 1784. Sketches of the Lives of 
Correggio and Parviigiano, p. 221 et seq. London, 1823. Luigi Sanvitale, Memorie 
ntortio alia Rocca di Fontanel lato. Panna, 1857. A. Konchini, La Steccata di Parma, 
■np. cit. E. Faelli, Bihlingrafia mazzoliana. Parma. 1884. 



rai(; ability as a draughtsman, 
which Paolo Veronese eulogised, 
his pleasing choice of types, 
and the cheerful \ivacity of his 
colour. His draperies, which he 
copied from antique models, are 
airy and graceful. His numerous 
portraits are superb, full at once 
of dignity and of nature. {Sec 
illustration on p. 348.) 

Girolamo Bedoli, whose family 
came from Bedulla, in the commune 
of Viadana, married Caterina Elena, 
daughter of Pier Ilario Mazzola, 
in 1529. By this union he entered 
into such close relations with the 
Mazzola family, working for and 
with them, that he adopted their 
surname as a prefix to his own. 
A large number of pictures by this 
excellent and prolific painter are 
to be found in Parma, and in 
other cities, both in Italy and 
abroad. They are very often 
ascribed to Parmigianino or his 
school. Parma, however, owns the 
majority of his works in oil and 
fresco. Examples may lie seen in 
nearly all the principal churches, 
in private houses, and in tJic public 
gallery. He died in 1560, aged 
about seventy.^ 

' X'asari, \-. pjj. 235-241. Ronchini. ZJ/^c 
<juadri di Girolamo Mazzola (Atti c mciiipric 
ilella R. Dcpiit. di s/otia pairia p(r I' Emilia. 
new series. \\\. [i.Trt i. .Moden.a, 1881). 


He was a careful imitator of Correggio and Parmigianino, and 
though their inferior, he shows a strain of pleasing originality in his 
composition, his types, and, above all, in his colour. Comparing him 
with Parmigianino, we sec him to have been a less accomplished 
draughtsman ; but on the other hand, he is less mannered and artificial. 
One curious feature of his works is the evicU-nt derivation of some of 
his figures from 
statues by Antonio 
Begarelli. His 
colour is soft and 
transparent, and 
at times weak, 
owing to his over- 
fondness for those 
pale opalescent 
tints which recall 
the changeful sur- 
face of mother-of- 

His master- 
piece is the Coii- 
ccption, a picture 
which fairly ranks 
as one of the best 
works of the Par- 
mesan andEmilian 
schools in the first 
part of the si.x.- 
teenth century. 

The influence of Correggio manifests itself more especially 
transparent colour, the half-tones and shadow 
quisitely light and delicate. The scrupulous accuracy of the outlines, 
the somewhat excessive length of the figures, and the convolutions 
of the draperies, recall Parmigianino. Some of the figures of youth- 
ful angels betray reminiscences of the terra-cottas modelled by 


of which are e.\- 



Begarelli for the Benedictines of San Giovanni Evangelista. The 
general effect is broad and coherent, in spite of the minute execution 
of details and the number of figures introduced ; but the picture 
has been most severely cleaned, an operation which has robbed it 
of much of its brilliance, and has, indeed, completely ruined it in 
parts. The noble beauty of the faces, especially of the female figures, 
is, however, but slightly impaired. {Sec 
illustration on p. 349.) 

Giorgio Gandino del Grano, born in 
Parma towards the close of the fifteenth 
century, died in his native city in 153S. 
Very little is known either of his life or 
his works. The latter are comparatively 
rare. He felt the influence of Correg- 
gio, but though an artist of considerable 
talent, he never approached his master 
in transparency of colour and sobriety 
of composition. His tints are some- 
what hard and violent ; the folds of his 
draperies confused and tortuous. He 
had a tendency to over-crowd his com- 
positions, as we see in the pictures by 
him in the Parma Gallery, and one in 
the Casa Scotti at Milan, the latter 
iroT ,l^ tHusrnin m attributed to Correggio. The eye wan- 

, p.-^,„,a Gallery. cl^rs ovcr these works, seeking in vain 

for some reposeful space between the 
nnumerable accessories fill up every available inch of 
^ Certain traits in his pictures seem to indicate that he 

had been affected to some extent by the neighbouring school 
of Lombardy. In 1534, immediately after the death of Correggio, 
he was commissioned to continue the decoration of the cathe- 
dral, and paint the vault of the presbytery and the apse. 
P)ut, as we have seen, he died shortly afterwards before he 
had begun his works, and his son was compelled to refund 

figures ; 


the 250 imperial lire paid him on account. {Sec illustration on 
P- 350.) 

Many writers include among Correggio's pupils or followers in 
Parma Bernardino Gatti, called // Sot'aro, in reference to the trade of 
his father, a cooper. He was l)orn at Cremona about 1500. When 
we consider that constant communication was kept up between Parma 
and Cremona ; that // Soiaro was the same age as Corrcggio ; that his 
art is evidently based on that of the master ; that he was cmployc^d by 
the ofhcials for whom Corrcggio and Parmigianino had worked, we 
must admit that the arguments in support of the opinion of early 
writers are very strong. Indeed, if //Soiaro did not make any sojourn 
in Parma till 1560, when he came to paint the frescoes of the Steccata, 
and if we must believe that he had never visited the city before, or at 
most had only passed through it, how are we to e.xplain the evident 
reminiscences of Correggio's forms and colour in his works, and how 
account for the fact that his pictures and drawings have been freely 
ascribed to Corrcggio in the past, and are still occasionally so ascribed ? 
//Soiaro was an elderly man in 1560 ; he was about sixty years old, 
an age at which no artist adopts a new manner, or revolutionises his 
own, more especially an artist like Gatti, who had lived in Lombardy, 
and in contact with a painter such as Pordenone. He worked 
in his native city, at Pavia, at Piacenza, and at Parma, where he 
remained for some time, engaged on the frescoes in the Steccata and 
on various pictures. He died at an advanced age in 1575, and there 
is a tradition that during the last years of his life he painted with his 
left hand, his right being paralysed. His works, though distinctly 
inferior to those of Corrcggio, are not without a certain grace and 
sweetness, a certain beauty of colour, and transparency of chiaroscuro, 
which stamps them as emanations from the art of the latter.^ 

These were the artists whom historic evidences and probabilities 

combine to group round Corrcggio at Parma. But there must have 

been many others, whose names are no longer remembered ; and others 

' Vasari, vi. p. 494. G. Aglio, Le pitturc c Ic scolture dclla citta di Cremona, 
])p. 18, 27, 52, 155, 159, etc. F. Sacchi, Notizie pittoriche cremonesi. Cremona, 1872. 
B. Soresina Vidoni, La pittiira cremonese descritta. Milan, 1824. I.anzi, Storia pittorica, 
ii. p. 319. Bassano, 1795-96. 


again, whom it is no longer possible to identify with any work, but 
who formed themselves by study of or contact with the master. 

Among the most curious and important works of Correggio's school 
in the Parma Gallery is a Procession to Calvary. Jesus, in a white robe, 
advances in the midst, bowed down by the weight of the cross. He 
gazes pitifully at the Virgin, who falls fainting into the arms of the 
Magdalen. In the foreground, a group of soldiers attack St. John, 
thrusting him violently aside, and forbidding his approach to jesus, 
who, at the same time, is pushed away from him by a ruffian, who 
raises his arm to strike. Behind is a crowd of helmeted soldiers 
armed with lances, two of them on horseback. One of these, on a 
black horse, is in complete armour, and carries a standard. The 
other, whose back is turned to the spectator, rides a white horse, and 
points with outstretched hand to Golgotha. The sky is veiled in 
masses of white cloud. 

This work was originally ascribed to Anselmi, and later, to Cor- 
reggio himself. Da Erba declared it to be a juvenile essay of the 
latter, whereas Algarotti saw in it Allegri's " second manner," and 
believed it to have been painted at the time when the master 
abandoned his Mantegnesque style for a more individual method. ^ 
Such opinions could only have been advanced at a time when no very 
accurate idea of Correggio's successive phases had been formed. It 
is impossible to accept this picture as a work of the master. In spite 
of certain fine qualities of composition, and the luminous effect of the 
colour, it is very faulty in drawing, and has little grace, and little 
transparence in the shadows. Neither can we discover in it any 
of the distinctive characteristics of Anselmi. The brilliant eyes, the 
careful drawing of the extremities, which he generally represents in 
animated motion, as challenging difficulties he knows himself able to 
overcome, above all, the clear and delicate colour, and the complicated 
folds of drapery, are alike conspicuous by their absence. 

The author of the picture is, as a fact, unknown. Was he one of 
the painters mentioned in documents of the period } Or has the work 
outlived the name of its creator ? The same questions may be asked 

' Bottari, Raaolta di ktkrc, vii. p. 420. 


of another picture in the gallery, the supposed portrait of Nicolo 
Maria Ouirico Sanvitale, ascribed by Stanislao Campana and Paolo 
Toschi to Correggio, who, as we have seen, paintc^d no portraits. 
Although it has something of the master's tone of colour, the tameness 
of the conception, and the treatment of the drapery are decisive as 
against its attri- 
bution to Allegri. 

To the list 
of scholars who 
admittedly work- 
ed under Cor- 
reggio's influ- 
ence in Parma, 
certain biogra- 
phers have 
added a group 
of artists who 
are supposed to 
have been his 
pupils in his 
native city. 

The short so- 
journs he made 
at Correggio be- 
tween his long- 
absences at Par- 
ma and else- 
where ; the e.\- 
treme improb- """'""' s^iwui of corressio. 

\ -T- r 1 • lu llie Parma Oalltry. 

ability 01 his 

having burdened 

himself with pupils during the last three years of his life, when 

he was, most probably, already in feeble health, and busily engaged 

on the Duke of Mantua's numerous commissions, and the ages 

of the presumptive scholars, all tend to negative the hypothesis 


of these writers, though in some cases they take the form of definite 

At the most, it may be possible to make exceptions in the cases of 
LeHo Orsi and Giovanni Giaroki.^ As regards these two, dates at 
least do not forbid the assumption. They may have come into contact 
with Correggio after 1530, though, as a fact, we find no mention of 
either until after his death. 

That Antonio Bernieri, a good Correggese miniature painter, 
studied, or formed himself under Correggio, seems to us highly im- 
probable. He was born in 15 16, a fact which has been enough in 
itself to correct a long array of historical errors. Like Allegri, he is 
commonly described in documents as Antonio da Correggio, and but 
for this fortunate disparity in their ages, it would have been almost 
impossible to avoid a hopeless confusion of their identities.- 

Finally, we must exclude from the number of his pupils one who 
has always headed the list hitherto, his son Pomponio. Born towards 
the end of 1 521, he was little over twelve years old when his father 
died ; a misfortune the more to be regretted in his case, inasmuch as 
Allegri would certainly have dissuaded him from the practice of art ! 

Pomponio lived at Correggio till 1550. In 1546 he was commis- 
sioned to decorate a chapel in the church of San Ouirino. After 1550 
we find him in Reggio. The documents which show him to have 
returned to Parma are all later than 155S. He seems to have received 
constant help and patronage, a result perhaps of the veneration felt for 
his parentage, or of pity for his poverty, for he soon dissipated his 
heritage. He painted the Cappella del Popolo in the cathedral 
(1560-62), and was employed on decorative works in honour of 
Alessandro Farnese's marriage with Maria of Portugal (1565), also on 
decorations for the funeral solemnities of the former in 1577, and 

' For Orsi, see Tiraboschi, vi. p. 493. Pungileoni, ii. [). 212. H. Thode, Lclio Orsi, 
op. cit. F. Malaguzzi, Alcune kttere di Ldio Orsi, Archivio storico dell' arte, iv. p. 370. 
C. Malagoli, Memorie storiche di L. Orsi, op. cit. For Giarola, see Tiraboschi, vi. p. 43 1 • 
Pungileoni, i. p. 276 ; ii. p. 272. Bigi, Notizie di A7itonio Allegri, di Antonio Bartolntti, 
e di altri pittori, p. 79. F. Malaguzzi, Notizie di artisti reggiani, p. 39. 

'■^ Tiraboschi, vi. j). 327. Pungileoni, i. P..276 ; ii. p. 271. Bigi, op. cit. p. 71. Meyer, 
Allgcmcines Kiinstler-Le.xikon, iii. \y. 659. 


of the latter in 1593, the last year in which we find any mention 
of hini.^ 

He painted on other occasions for the cathedral, and for the 
churches of Santa Cecilia, San Vitale, San Francesco, etc. There is 
also a Madonna ami Child by him over an altar on th(' left of the 
parish church of La Trinita. Of his mediocre art we need say little. 
In his works all his father's qualities are recognisable in a state of 
decay and exhaustion. The colour is dull and ashen, the drawing 
contemptible, the composition poor and feeble. Some faint echo of 
Correggio's smiling radiance of expression strikes the spectators in a 
face here and there, but this is all. 

Reverence for his father did not secure tender treatment for him 
from all his contemporaries. The work he executed in collaboration 
with other artists of his own calibre in the church of San Bartolomeo 
at Busseto was openly and severely condemned by the Venetian 
painter, Pietro dal Pozzo, who advised the wardens not to pay the 
wdiole of the stipulated price, on the grounds that " there was not a 
single figure in the composition which showed any trace of contours, 
muscles, relief, or expression." - 

It has been stated that with the gradual disappearance of these 
artists, who flourished at the same time with Correggio, in the same 
places, and were his disciples either directly or indirectly, the memory 
of the master and the admiration felt for his works also faded and died 
out. We must protest against the exaggeration of such statements. 
It is by no means true that Correggio w'as ever in danger of being 
forgotten, or that his works came to be held in very slight account. 

The scanty number of writers who concerned themselves with him 
during the sixteenth century, as compared with the hundreds who made 
the other great artists of the Renaissance their theme, has caused a 
misapprehension as to the respect felt for him by the painters who 
flourished during the half century after his death. 

' Nicola Tacoli, Memorie di J?c\i;,i:/i> di Loinbardia, iii. p. 495 et set/. Pjaistrocchi, 
Notizic dei pittori. Tiraboschi, vi. p. 290. Pungileoni, ii. \). 262 <•/ Sfr/. Higi, p. 63. 
Meyer, AUgememes Kiinstkr-Lexikon, i. p. 481. Correggio, p. 261, etc. 

'- DicJiiarazione autentica di Pietro dal Pozzo, presented to the Parma Galler)- l)y 
Count L. F. ^'aldrighi. 


It is true, however, that no contemporary writer mentions him. 
Ariosto, who lived in the same district, who sang the praises of the 
ladies of the House of Correggio, who visited the Marchese del Vasto 




^^r^ T^^^^mm 


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III the Naples Museum. 

in the city in 1531,^ omits to mention him in Canto xxxiii. of the 

I I'lingilconi, who records this visit (ii. \>. 241), further cxiiresses his surprise (p. 2) that 
tlic Marchese should iiave summoned Titian to Correggio when Allegri was there. As 




Orlando Ftirioso, where he records the fame of Leonardo, Mantec^na, 
Gian BelHni, the two Dossi, INlichehingelo, Raphael, and Titi;in. 

This omission, however, by no means convinces us that Correggio's 
works were not appreciated by his contemporaries. The circle of his 
admirers was, no doubt, a restricted one, a result of the comparative 
unimportance of 
the scene of his 
labours, where 
an artist's fame 
was less likely 
to become wide- 
spread than at 
Rome and Ven- 
ice, or even at 
Mantua and 
Ferrara. Arios- 
to, again, was a 
poet and not a 
painter; desiring 
to pay his tribute 
to art, he may 
very well have 
chosen the paint- 
ers most uni- 
versally known ; 
he accepts the 
verdict of the 
multitude, re- 
stricting his own j^^ ii^^ j,,^^_^^^ j.^ii^,^.'^. 
initiative in the 

matter to the inclusion of the two Dossi, who, like himself, lived at 
Ferrara, and at the court of the Estensi. 

The fact that Vasari was able to glean few details concerning his 
life, seems to us a very feeble argument to rely on in proof of the speedy 

the reason of this invitation is not explained, it is somewhat unreasonable to wonder at 
the fact. 



eclipse of Correggio's 
reputation. The 
peaceful and unevent- 
ful life he led, his ab- 
sorption in his work, 
and the absence of all 
startling and heroic 
elements in his his- 
tory, sufficiently ex- 
plain the lack of 
In the Castle of Fontandiam. materials for his bio- 

graphy, just as they 
account for the absurd fables which grew up in default of established 

It will be objected that other writers who flourished shortly after 
Arlosto, are also silent concerning him, among them the episcopal 
chancellor, Marzocchi, who wrote a description of Parma to Alessandro 
Sforza, and Leandro Alberti, in his Dcscrizionc di tutta Italia. 

Yet it is hardly matter for surprise that these ecclesiasts, whose 
principal themes were fantastic legends bearing on the origin of 
the cities, the miracles performed by local saints, and the history 
of relics, should have felt little interest in painters and pictures. 

On the other hand, we know that immediately after Correggio's 
death the Duke of Mantua eagerly demanded the drawings of the Loves 

of Jupiter, and that 
the wardens of the 
cathedral at Parma 
caused the outside of 
the cupola to be cased 
with lead for the 
better preservation of 
the frescoes ; that in 
1546 the portion of 
the wall on which Cor- 
reggio had painted 
his Madotma della 



Scala was carefully 
preserved when the 
new bastions were 
erected ; that the 
Fathers of the An- 
nunciation battened 
and clamped the 
piece of wall on 
which their fresco 
was painted, and 
transferred it for ^-.. ^^^^^^. ^'^^^'^^l^^^^^'"^"' ""'"' 

safety from one 

church to another. These facts, which atone in some degree for 
the wanton destruction of his fresco in the choir of the Benedictine 
church, sufficiently prove that Correggio's work was treated with 
peculiar reverence by his immediate survivors. 

Historians and writers of treatises were not long silent. In 1552 

Landi described him as " a painter nobly formed by Nature herself, 

rather than by any master. No one," he adds, " excelled him in 

the painting of children, the treatment of draperies, and the rendering 

of hair." ^ 

Fabio Segni praised him in two epigrams preserved by Vasari.- 

Lodovico Dolce, speaking of Giulio Romano, declares him to be 

" eclipsed by the finer colour and the greater charm of Antonio da 

Correggio, a superb 

master, by whom 

there are pictures in 

Parma so beautiful 

that it is impossible 

to desire better." " 

In another work he 

1 Settc Ubri di' catha- 
/og/ii, p. 493. 

" Vife, iv. p. 120. 

2 Dialogo siilla piltiint. 
p. 63. 

llw Castle of FoTitandblo. 


includes Allegri among the most illustrious men of his century.^ At 
about the same i^eriod, Anton l^rancesco Doni, writing to Messer 
Simone Carnesecchi, exhorts him not to omit to see Correggio's works 
during his sojourn in Parma,- and Lamo expresses his enthusiastic 
admiration for the Noli inc taiigcre in 1560. 

But before this, in the year 1550, Lorenzo Torrentino, of Florence, 
had published Vasari's Vitc dci piu eccellenti pittori, sailtori ed archi- 
tetti, in which, save for a trifling reservation in reference to his drawing, 
the most unbounded praise was bestowed on Correggio's work, and he 
himself was acclaimed as unique {siiigolarissimo) and "an exquisite 
genius." During the years which passed between the publication of 
the first and second editions of the Lives, Vasari had seen many of 
Correggio's works again, but far from modifying his encomiums, he 
waxed still more enthusiastic. In the second edition he declares that 
Allegri " had achieved the modern manner so perfectly, that in a 
few years, by his natural gifts and the constant practice of his art, 
he had become a rare and marvellous craftsman." We have quoted 
other criticisms of Vasari's in the course of this work, but his con- 
clusion sums them all up in a phrase : " Many other things might be 
said of his works ; but since everything of his is regarded as divine 
by the best judges of art among us, I will not linger over them." ^ 

The consideration in which he was held throughout those forty years 
after his death, when it is suggested that he was forgotten and neglected, 
is still more strongly shown in the tendency of many famous artists to 
imitate him, and even occasionally to copy from him. The list of 
painters and pictures would become interminable if we attempted to 
follow the traces of Correggio's influence down to the time of the 
Carracci, to whom the credit of having renewed his fame justly belongs. 
A notable example of the tendency we have pointed out is to be found 
in the case of Federigo Barocci, who, although a fellow-citizen of 
Raphael, and an enthusiastic student of his great compatriot's art, was 
fascinated by the works of Correggio, whose pictures he copied, and 
whose motives he reproduced. It is interesting, too, to note how even 

' Vita delP invitissimo e gloriosissimo impcrador Carlo Quinto, p. 171. \'enice, 1561. 
Libri tre tiei quali si tratta idle diverse sorte delle gemme, p. 68. Venice, 1 565. 
- Bottari, Raccolta di lettere, iii. p. 350. •' Op. cit. iv. p. 118. 



before the lime of iliu Carracci, ihe current of Bolognese art set in the 
direction of our painter's manncM", ami how the tendency to adopt his 
forms had dechired itself before the rise; of the t,rrcat school of Bologna. 
It is true that Biagio Pupini dalle Lame, Girolamo Marchesi, 
Innocenzo da Imola, Bagnacavallo, and some few others, only threw off 
the spell of Francia to fall under that of Raphael ; but it is equally 
true that their immediate successors turned with one accord to Cor- 

reggio. Orazio Sammachini, Lorenzo Sabbatini, the Procaccini, the 
Passarotti, Nicolo dell' Abate, in fact, all the Bolognese and Modenese 
painters who flourished in the second half of the sixteenth century, felt 
the fascination of Correggio's colour and line. In many examples of 
their art we could point not only to imitation, but direct plagiarism. 
The Martyrdom of St. Peter and St. Paul, by Nicolo dell' Abate, in 
the Dresden Gallery, is inspired to some extent by Pordenone's pic- 
ture at Cortemaggiore ; but the central group, with the executioner 


in the act of killing St. Paul, is "lifted'" bodily from Correggio's 
5V. Placidus. 

Bartolomeo Passarotti was perhaps of all these painters the one 
who approached the master most nearly in his colour, and the 
sweetness of his types. In a small early picture by him in the 
Bologna Gallery, representing the Virgin and Child with several 
saints, in the shade of a wood, the tone, the types, and the motives 
are very Correggesque in character, and the same may be said of 
his large picture in the church of .San Giacomo at Bologna, where 
the figures of Jesus, the Virgin, and St. John the Baptist were 
evidently suggested by those of the Madonna ivith St. George. 

No great importance has been attached to the work of these 
first imitators of the master, for it was silent, reticent, and individual. 
The Carracci, on the other hand, made the study of Correggio a 
science, copying his works, and setting their disciples to copy them, 
lauding his "pure and sovereign style" in their school and in their 
writings, and challenging discussions as to his merits with the advo- 
cates of the Tuscan school. By these means they succeeded in 
popularising his works, and diffusing that knowledge of, and admiration 
for them, which at first had been confined to the more discriminating. 

The Carracci indeed may be said to have finally determined that 
tendency to accept the formuke of Correggio, which, by a sort of 
historic necessity, had begun to manifest itself ten years earlier. 
What indeed had the Carracci accomplished on the lines laid down 
by certain of their predecessors ? They set aside the art built 
up upon the decayed formuke of the imitators of Michelangelo ; 
they even sought to eliminate those formula; altogether, and to 
attach themselves chronologically to the point of departure of the 
Miclielangiolisti themselves, more especially to Correggio and Titian. 
They showed great acuteness in reviving a formula which was 
peculiarly suited to the taste of the age, and had not as yet been 
exhausted by use and abuse ; reaction had become inevitable ; and 
had the mannerists repeated and gradually emasculated the forms of 
Correggio and Titian, instead of those of Michelangelo, the final result 
would not improbably have been a revival of the style of Michelangelo. 

That the necessity for some such revival was strongly felt is 


proved by the fact that even in rebel Tuscany there were some 
who turned to our paintiM", invoking, so to s[)cal<, a transfusion 
of new blood in their artistic veins. Lodovico Cardi of Cigoli, 
Gregorio Pagani, and Cristoforo Allori broke faith with their masters, 
and borrowed from Correggio something of his chiaroscuro, his grace, 
and his brilliance. 

A transcription of the praises lavished on Correggio from 1580 
onwards would be a long and useless task. Admiration had changed 
to enthusiasm. Artists looked upon his works as their gospel ; col- 
lectors bought up his pictures regardless of price, forcibly abducted 
them from churches, or paid for them almost with their weight in gold ; 
writers described them in extravagant hyperbole. 

Meyer maintains that all this interest was of a purely practical 
and technical nature, and concerned itself little with the facts of the 
painter's life. 

It is, indeed, not improbable that his biography was of little 
moment to those who gave themselves up to enthusiastic worship of 
his masterpieces, and contented themselves, perhaps, for the rest, 
with the meagre details they found in Vasari. Lomazzo does not 
include Correggio among the "seven columns" of his "Temple of 
Painting." Nevertheless, he sings of him as unsurpassed in colour 
and in light, as " a superhuman " painter, and worthy to rank with 
the ancients as a master of the proportions of the body. 

In 15S0, Annibale Carracci, referring to Allegri's supposed poverty, 
delivered himself as follows : " I rage and lament within myself at the 
very thought of the misery of poor Antonio, so great a man, if indeed he 
were a man, and not rather an angel in human form, who had strayed 
into a country where he was misunderstood, when he ought rather to 
have been exalted to the stars. And here he died miserably ! " ' 

In the same year Frate Giovanni Malazappi wrote of him as " the 
most excellent painter, Antonio da Correggio, famous among all the 
Italian masters."'- Borghini described him as "unique, excellent, 
marvellous!"'' Armenini,^ Alessandro Tassoni," Gian Battista Leoni,'"' 

1 p]ottari, i. p. 122. - Cronkhe della J^rovincia Bologna, op. at. 

^ II Riposo, p. 374. Florence, 1585. 

* D£ veri precetti della pittura, p. 12. Ravenna, i5<S7. 

'- Pensieri diversi, vol. x. cliap. xix. Carpi, 1620. " Bottari, v. p. 53. 


men of letters and writers of treatises in a body, declared him one of 
the apostles of painting. 

From this time forth, his fame and his merits were never called 
in question. It would be superfluous, therefore, to glean further 
suffrages from the writers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. 
Artists journeyed to Parma to see his frescoes. His influence gradually 
permeated throughout half Europe. Meyer tells us that not only in 
Italy, but in the Tyrol, and in central and southern Germany, it has 
left its mark in sacred pictures, just as it has manifested itself in the 
decorations, gay with smiling/////'/, of innumerable French and German 
palaces.^ During the past century, and throughout our own, few of 
the travellers who have written of Italy have omitted to visit Parma, 
and study Correggio's works there. When Prince Metternich arrived 
at Parma in 1817 on a mission to the ex-Empress, Marie Louise, 
he seems to have troubled himself but little with her, her govern- 
ment, or the concerns of Napoleon, then a prisoner at St. Helena. 
Of his preoccupation and indifference he has left ample proof in his 
memoirs. F"or once the cold spirit of diplomacy and the sordid cal- 
culations of political opportunism are forgotten in the delight of eye 
and heart : " Cette ville est le berceau du Correge. Les salles et les 
murs sont couverts de ses chefs-d'oeuvre. On ne saurait se figurer rien 
de plus enchanteur que tout ce qu'il a legue a des siecles malheureux 
de ne pouvoir I'imiter et heureux de pouvoir I'admirer ! " - 

1 Correggio, p. 7. 

'^ Memoires, documents et eerits dive/s laisscs pnr h Prince de Metteniicli, iii. p. 50. Paris, 




I. Vault of the Camera di San Paolo at 
Parma. Diana (over the fireplace). Sixteen 
ovals in the vault with ptitti, and sixteen 
lunettes painted in monochrome with the 
following subjects : i. The Graces; ii. Adonis ; 
iii. Bonus Evenius; iv. The Earth; v. Juno 
c/iastised; vi. A Vestal; vii. A Philosopher; 
viii. The Temple of Jupiter; i.x. The Fates ; 
X. Ino Leucothoi-; xi. Ceres; xii. A Satyr; 
xiii. Chastity; xiv. Virginity ; xv. Fortune : 
xvi. Minerva. 

Parma ; now in the R. Biblioteca Palatina of 
that city. 

5. Frieze in the nave of San Giovanni 
Evangclista. The design only by Correggio, 
the work executed by Francesco Maria 
Rondani, with the exception, perhaps, of the 
fourth compartment on the right. 


6. St. John the Evangelist at Patinos. 
Lunette over the small door in the left 
transept of San Giovanni E\-angelista. 


2. Cupola of the church of San Giovanni 
Evangelista at Parma. Ceiling : The aged 
St. John sees the Saviour ascending into 
Heaven surrounded by Apostles and Angels. 
Frieze : Symbols of the Evangelists. Pen- 
dentives : i. St. Luke and St. Ambrose; 2. 
St. Mark and St. Gregory; 3. St. John and 
St. Augustine; 4. St. Matthew and St. 
Jerome. Subjects in monochrome on the 
soffits of the arches : St. Joseph, Moses, 
Elijah, Daniel, Jonah, Samson, Abraham's 
Sacrifice, Cain and Abel. 

3. Heads of Angels. Fragments from Cor- 
reggio's fresco in the apse of San Giovanni 
Evangelista. In Mr. Ludwig Mond's collec- 
tion, London. 

4. The Coronation of the Virgin. Formerly 
in the apse of San Giovanni Evangelista at 


7. The Madonna delta Scala. A fresco, 
formerly over the Porta San Michele at Parma, 
now in the gallery of that city. 

8. The Annunciatio7i. Formerly in the 
church of the Annunziata at Parma, now in 
the gallery of that city. 


9. Cupola of the cathedral at Parma. 
Ceiling : The Assumption of the Virgin. 
Balustrade : Genii bearing candelabra, and 
sprinkling incense ttpon the flames, ivhile the 
Apostles gaze at the ascending Virgin. Pen- 
dentives : The four patron saints of Parma, 
St. Hilary, St. Bernard, St. John the Baptist, 
and St. Thomas, surrounded by youthful 
angels. Six putti in monochrome on the 
soffits of the arches. 





1. The Marriage of S/. Catherine, in the 
presence of St. Francis ofAssisi, St. Dominic, 
and St. Anne. A small picture, belonging to 
Dr. Gustavo Frizzoni. 

2. Madonna and Child, with angels singing 
attd playing. A small picture, in the Uffizi, 

3. The Bolognini Madonna. The Virgin 
and Child with the little St. John. In the 
Museo Artistico Municipale atlVIilan. Trans- 
ferred from canvas to panel. 

4. The Malaspina Madonna. The Virgin 
and Child with the little St. John, St. Elizabeth, 
and St. Joseph. Small picture in the Museo 
Comunale, Pavia. 


12. The Repose in Egypt. The Madonna 
and Child, with St. Joseph and St. Francis of 
Assisi. An altar-piece, formerly in the church 
of San Francesco at Correggio, now in the 
Uffizi, Florence. 

13. La Zingarclla, or Madonna with the 
Rabbit. The Virgin and Child with angels. 
A small picture, in the Naples Museum. 

14. The Afadonna with St. James. The 
Virgin and Child, with St. James and St. 
Joseph. A small picture, in the Hampton 
Court Caller)-. 

1 5. The Madonna and Child with the little 
St. John. A small picture, in the Prado at 


5. The Nativity. The Virgin adoring the 
Infant Christ, with St. Elizabeth, the little St. 
John, St. Joseph, angels, and shepherds. A 
small picture in Cavaliere Benigno Crespi's 
collection at Milan. 

6. The Campari Madonna. The Virgin and 
Child. A small picture in the Estense Gallery 
at Modena. 

7. The Virgin and Child, -with St. Elizabeth 
and the little St. John. A small picture in 
Prince Leopold of Hohenzollern's gallery at 

8. Christ taking leave of his Mother before 
the Passion. Jesus, the Virgin, St. Mary 
Magdalen, and St. John. A small picture, in 
Mr. R. H. Benson's collection, London. 


9. St. Martha. St. Martha, St. Mary 
Magdalen, St. Peter, and St. Leonard. 
Formerly in the chapel of Santa Maria della 
Misericordia at Correggio, now -in Lord 
Ashburton's collection. An altar-piece. 


10. The Madonna with St. Francis, 
formerly in the church of San Francesco at 
Correggio, now in the Dresden Gallery. The 
Virgin and Child enthroned between St. 
Francis of Assisi, St. Anthony of Padua, St. 
John the Baptist, St. Catherine, angels, and 
cherubs. Altar-piece. 

11. The Casalmaggiore Madonna ij) Altar- 
piece in the gallery at Frankforton-thc-Main. 


16. The Marriage of St. Catherine. A 
small picture, belonging to Cavaliere Paolo 
Fabrizi at Rome. A supposed replica belongs 
to Dr. Theodor Schall of Berlin. 


17. La Madonna del Latte. Madonna and 
Child with an angel. A small picture, in the 
Budapest Gallery. 

1 8. La Madonna della Cesta. The Virgin 
and Child with St. Joseph. A small picture, 
in the National Gallery, London. 

19. The Virgin adoring the Infant Christ. 
A small picture, in the Uffizi, Florence. 


20. The Martyrdotn of St. Placidus and 
St. Fla-L'ia. Formerly in the church of San 
Giovanni Evangelista, Parma, now in the 
Parma Gallery. 

2 1 . The Descent from the Cross. The dead 
Christ, the Virgin, the Maries, and Joseph of 
Arimathaea. Formerly in the church of San 
Giovanni Evangelista at Parma, now in the 
Parma Gallery. 

22. Eece Homo. Christ, with the Virgin 
Mary, the Magdalen, Pilate, and a soldier. 
In the National Gallery, London. 

23. Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane. 
In the distance the sleeping Apostles, and 
the soldiers with Judas. A small picture 
at Apslcy House, London. 




24. The Marriatrc of St. Catherine. The 
Virgin and Child, with St. Catherine and St. 
Sebastian. The martyrdom of St. Catlicrine 
and of St. Sebastian in the bacl<ground. In 
the Louvre. 


25. Noli 

kneeling before Christ. 

The Magdalen 
In the Trado, 


26. The Madonna with St. Sebastia?i. The 
Virgin and Child with St. Sebastian, Si. 
Geminianus, St. Roch, and angels. .An 
altar-piece, formerly in the chapel of the 
Confraternith. di San Sebastiano at Modcna, 
now in the Dresden Gallery. 


27. St. Catlicriiw rcadiiio. A small picture, 
in the Hampton Court tlallery. 


28. The Madonna -with St. Jerome, called 

// Giorno. The Virgin and Child, St. Jerome, 
the Magdalen, St. John, and an angel. Altar- 
piece, formerly in the church of Sant' Antonio 
at I'arma, now in the Parma Gallery. 


29. The Repose in Egypt, known as La 
Madonna delta Scodella. The Virgin and 
Cliild, with St. Joseph and an angel. Altar- 
piece, formerly in the church of the Holy 
Sepulchre at Parma, now in the Parma 

30. The Nativity, known as La Notte. 
The Virgin and Child with St. Joseph, angels, 
and shepherds. An altar-piece, formerly in 
llie church of San Prospero at Reggie in the 
P'.niilia, now in the Dresden Gallery. 


31. The Madonna with St. George. The 
Virgin and Child with St. Peter Martyr, St 
Giorge, St. Geminianus, St. John the Baptist, 
.md youthful angels. Altar-piece, formerly 
in the Oratory of St. Peter Martyr at .Modena, 
now in the Dresden Gallery. 


I. A piping Faun 
picture in the Munich 



2. The Education of Cupid. 
Mercury, and Cupid. In the 
Gallery, London. 

3. Antiope. .-Xntiopc, Cupid, an 
in the form of a Satyr. In the Lou\ 



4. llandc. Danae, Cupid, and two 
Amorini. In the Borghcsc Gallery, Rome. 

5. Leda. Leda, the swan, nymphs, and 
swans, Cupid, waiting-women, and putti. In 
the Berlin Gallery. 

6. /(). The nymph lo, and Jupiter in the 
form of a cloud. In the Belvedere, Vienna. 

7. I'ice, an allegory, in tempera. In the 

8. I'irtue, an allegory, in tempera. In the 



1. Herodias. The e.~;ecutioner [iresenting 
the head of John the Baptist to Herodias. 


2. Christ, the Son of Man. A triptych, with 
the Saviour on a rainbow in the middle, St. 
John the Baptist on the left, and St. Bartholo- 
mew on the right. Formerly in the chapel of 
Santa Maria della Misericordia at Correggio 

3. The Young Man fleeing from thf 
Captors of Christ. Formerly in the Barberini 
( iallery, Rome. 

4. St. Mary Magdalen, painted for Gio- 
vanni Guidotti di Roncopo, priest of Albinea. 

5. The Albinea Madonna. The Virgin 
and Child between St. Mary Magdalen and 
St. Lucy. Formerly in the parish church of 
Albinea, near Reggio. 




6. Frescoes in the apse of San Giovanni 
Evangelista at Parma, destroyed when the 
choir was enlarged in 15S7. The only por- 
tions preserved are the fragments mentioned 
in the list of Correggio's frescoes, Nos. 3 
and 4. 

7. The Magdalen in a Cave, her hands 
clasped in prayer. Described in a letter 
from Veronica Gambara to Isabella d'Este. 


8. The Loves of Jupiter. Cartoons executed 
for Federigo Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua. 


1. The Mat'riage of St. Catherine, in the 
Royal Library, Turin. 

2. La Madonna del Lalte. The Virgin, 
St. Anne, the Infant Jesus, the little St. John, 
and St. Joseph. Sketch, in the Vienna 

3. An Apostle and an Angel. Study for 
the cupola of San Giovanni Evangelista at 
Parma. In the Louvre. 

4. Three Apostles with Angels. Study for 
the cupola of San Giovanni Evangelista at 
Parma. Vienna Museum. 

5. The Apostle St. Paul, with Angels. 
Study for the cupola of San Giovanni 
Evangelista at Parma. In Herr A. von 
Beckerath's collection, Berlin. 

6 and 7. An Eagle and an Angel. A Lion 
and an Angel. The symbols of the Evan- 
gelists St. John, St. Matthew, and St. Luke. 
Two small studies for the cupola of San 
Giovanni Evangelista at Parma. In the 

8. The Coronation of the Virgin. Study 
for the apse of San Giovanni Evangelista at 
Parma. In the Louvre. 

9. The Martyrdom of St. Placidus and St. 
Flavia. Study, in the Louvre. 

10. Madonna and Child. Study for the 
Madonna delta Scala at Parma. In the 
Weimar Museum. 

11. The Madonna and Child. Study for 
the Madonna delta Seala. In the British 

In the 

In the 

12-14. Three sketches oi putti, for a frieze. 
In the Louvre. 

15. St. John the Baptist and Angels. 
Study for one of the pendentives in Parma 
Cathedral. In the Louvre. 

16. An Apostle. Study for the cupola of 
Parma Cathedral. In the Vienna Museum. 

1 7. The Assumption of the Virgin. 
for the cupola of Parma Cathedral. 
Dresden Gallery. 

1 8. Adam, Abraliam, and Isaac. 
for the cupola of Parma Cathedral. 
Royal Library, Windsor. 

19. Eve. Study for the cupola of Parma 
Cathedral. In the British Museum. 

20. Three Putti. In the Duke of Devon- 
shire's collection at Chatsworth. 

21. T7V0 Putti embracing. In the Duke of 
Devonshire's collection at Chatsworth. 

22. Three Putti seated. In the Duke ot 
Devonshire's collection at Chatsworth. 

23. The Adoration of the Shepherds. Study 
for La Nolle. In the British Museum. 

24. Putti. Study for the Madonna with 
St. George. In the Uffizi, Florence. 

25. St. John, St. Roch, St. Agatha, and St. 
Anthony. In the Uffizi, Florence. 

26. A sleeping Woman. Study for the 
.Inliope. In the Royal Library, Windsor. 

27. A nude Woman, with Cupids. Study 
for the Antiope (?). In the Louvre. 

28. A Head of Mercury. Study for the 
Education of Cupid. In the Uffizi, Florence. 


N I) 1{ X 

Abate, Ercole dell', 276 
Nicolo dell', 389 

Abba, Ercole, 276 

Affarosi, Francesco degli, 194 
Tommaso, 93 

Affo, Ireneo, 153, 158, 159, 165, 229 

d'Agrate, Antonio, 146, 187 
Gian Francesco, 167, 250 

Alba, Duke of, 305 

Ferdinando de, sec Vallc, De 

Albani, 375 

Alberti, Leandro, 10, 3S6 

Albinea, 114, 126, 131, 135, 153 

Aldo, The (family), 15, 177 

Aldobrandini, Cardinal, 234 

Aldrovandi, The Marchesc, 270 

Alessandrino di Giovanni d'Arceto, 39 

Alessio, Master, 187 

Alfonso of Spain, 48 

Alfonso IV'., set: Modena, Duke of 

Algarotti, Francesco, 284, 335, 380 

AUcgorv of the Court of Isabella d'Esle (by 
Costa), 67 

Allegri, The (family), 32, 35, 36 
Anna Gcria, 185, 186 
Antonia, 32 

Antonio, called Correggio : supposed d.ilc 
of his birth, 28-30 ; his birth-place and 
family, 30-36 ; his education, 37, 38 ; his 
early artistic training, 43, 44 ; his sup- 
posed masters, 45-47 ; influences of the 
Ferrarese school on his art, 48-52 ; these 
influences modified by that of Alantegna, 
53-62 ; his sojourn at iSIantua, 68-71 ; 
his relations with \'eronica Gambara and 
Isabella d'Este, 83-91 ; he is commis- 
sioned to paint the Madonna with St. 
Franeis for the Franciscans of Correggio, 
92-94'; transition period in his art, 
112-115; he goes to Parma, 151, 152; 
paints the frescoes in the Camera di San 
Paolo, 158; marries Girolama Merlini, 
185 ; children of their marriage, 185 ; 
paints the frescoes in San Giovanni 
Evangelista, Parma, for the Benedictines, 
189, 190 ; returns to Correggio, 194, 195, 
226 ; returns to Parma, and paints the 
frescoes in the dome of the cathedral, 
250-255 ; death of his wife, 274 ; he re- 
turns to his native city and settles there, 
307 ; works for Federigo Gonzaga, 325 ; 
his death at Correggio, 327 ; supposed 
portraits of him, 328-331 ; his character, 
333-335 ; h's burial-place, 335 ; monu- 
ments to his memory, 340 ; critical 
analysis of his art, 341-367 ; his pupils 
and imitators, 36S-383 

Allegri, Caterina, 174, 175 

Clemente, 32 

Cristoforo, 32, 35 

Elisabelta, 32 

Franccsca Lelizia, 185 

Francesco, 32 

Giacomo, 32 

Giberto, 32 

(;iovanni Maria, 32 

Jacopo, 33, 35 

Lorenzo, 35, 39, 43, 44, 274 

Lucrezia, 185 

Orsolina, 32 

Pellegrino, 30, 32, 35, 36, 46, 93, 186, 274 

Pomponio, 64, 185, 251, 334, 382, 383 

Quirino, 39, 43 
Allegro, Pietro di, 31 
d'Amboise, Charles, 69 
Anceschi, see Bartolotti 
Angcli, Francesco, 39 
Angelo of Siena, 49 

Anguissola, Abbot of Sant' Antonio, 279 
Anminciatio7i, The ("fresco at Parma), 241, 247, 

Ansclmi, Giorgio, 165 

Michelangelo, 189, 216, 218, 250, 321, 371, 
372, 380 
Antclami, Benedetto, 144 
Antimaco, 3 

Antiopc, 301, 304, 305, 307, 359 
Antonio, Master, 42 
Antonioli, Michele, 69, 120, 330 
Anziani, The (senators), 21, 94 
Apsley House, 234 
Araldi, Alessandro, 148, 154, 167, 250, 254, 369 

Josafat, 147 
Arda (river), 18 
Aretino, Pietro, 3, 13 
Aretusi, Cesare, 213 
Argenta, Battle of, 28 
Ariosto, 15, 18, 20, 81, 384, 385 
Armenini, G. B., 169, 391 
Aromani, Bernardina degli, 31, 46, 93, 327 

Francesco degli, 83, 153 

Komanello degli, 194 
Augustoni, Sigismondo, 81 
Augustus III., King of Poland, 249, 2S9, 296 
d'Azara, 330, 331 
Azzolini, Cardinal, 314 

Marchese Pompco, 3t4 

Ba(;arotti, Aguccio, 

Maflfeo, 146 
Baghirolli, W., 311 
Baglione, Astorre, 3 
Baiardi (family), 165, 

Cavaliere, 181 


Baini, Martino, 340 
i>aistrocchi, 216, 2S5 
Baldinucci, 364 
Balducci, Giovanni, 38 
Bandello, 13, 82 
Bandinello, Baccio, 69 
Barberini, Cardinal, 176 

Gallery, 138 
Barigazzi, 15 

Barocci, Federigo, 113, 270, 335, 38S 
Bartolomeo di Giovanni, 39 

called Bi-ason, 39, 40, 52 

of Parma, 144 
Bartolotti, Antonio, 39, 42 
Basseporte, Madame, 270 
Battista di Carlino di Bagnolo, 39 
15egarelli, Antonio, 189, 353, 377 
Beliardi, Pascasio, 251 
Bellini, Giovanni, 87, 147 

Jacopo, 48 
Belvedere Gallery (Vienna), 313 
Bembo, 81, 82 

Benedetto, 146 
Benedetti, Maria, 157 
Benson, Mr. R. H., 103 
Bentivogli, The (family), 6, 9, 20, 22, 48, 50, 66, 

Bcntivogiio, Giovanni, 9, 22, 66 

Palace at Bologna, 9, 47 
Bcrceto, Antonio da, 187 

Gian da, 187 
Bergonzi, Agnese, 154 

Bernardo, 165 

Orazio, 278 
Berlin, 170 

Gallery, 315. 3I7 
Bernardi, Antonio, 8r 
Bernardino of Torchiara, 150, 187, 189 
Berni, Giovanni, 37 
Bernieri, Antonio, 196, 330, 382 
Bertioli, Count Antonio, 281 
Bianchi, Tommasino de', see Lancellotti 
})ianchi-Ferrari, Francesco, 45, 46, 47, 51 
Bianconi, Carlo, 103, 181 

Dr., 125 

(priest), 286,iena, 278 
Ilr^cllini, Giuseppe, 333 
l;i,>;i, Quirino, 175, 336 
Jliii/i of the Viri(i>i, 135 
Bisanti, Trifone, i 5 
TSissolo, Francesco, 147 
Pioccaccio, 6 

ISoiardi (family), 9 ^ 

I'.oiardo, Matteo, 10, 12, 20, 27, 30, 90 
Uologna, 2, 8, 9, 21, 22, 39, 43, 46-50, 52, 66, 67, 
84, 145, 148, 149, 234, 374 

Gallery, 390 
liolognini. The (family), iio 
PioUrafTio, Francesco, 146 
11-1, ,|..,ii. , (',ir..line, 230, 305 
li' i I 1. . "Imneo, 50 

|:":'''|, ' ; ^"';;"\-f5 

Ikiiboni, tjiacomo, 122 
r.orghcse. Princess, 315 

(lallery, 316 
Borghini (writer), 39 r 
Borgia, C;csar, 3 

Borgia, Lucrezia, 87 

Borgo, San Domino, 144, 146, 310 

Bottari, 175 

Bottoni, Francesco, 153 

Boucher, Frangois, 314 

Boulanger, Jean, 94, 116, 132, 275 

Bourbon, Connetable de, 8, 150 

Charles de (King of Naples), 118 

Philip de, see Parma, Duke of 
Bourdon, Sebastian, 313 
Bramante, 66 

Brandenburg, Francesca of, 85 
Braon, General di, 286 
Brera, The (Milan), 60, 137 
Bresciani, Antonio, 158 
Bridgewater, Uuke of, 315 
British Museum, 269 
Brunorio, Gherardo, 31, 33,35 

Paolo, 83, 309 

Pompeo, 185 
Buchanan, Mr., 181 
Budapest Gallery, 176, 178, iSo 
Buffalmaco, 6 
Bulbarini (historian), 335 
Bullart, Isaac, 330 
Buonarroti, Michelangelo, 44, 63, 87, 139, 151, 

Buralli, Giovanni, 144 

Burckhardt, Jakob, 63, 75, 222, 223, 289, 363 
Burton, Sir Frederick, 181 
Busseto, 9, 19, 22, 192, 372 
Bussi, Cardinal, 280 

Cabral, Count, 177 

Caccia, Alessandro, 36, 325 

Cadioli, Giovanni, 72 

Calcagnini Palace (Ferrara), 49 

Calcagnini, Teofilo, 90 

Camera degli Sposi (Mantua), 57, 59, 72, 73, 166 

Camera di San Paolo, 57, 62, 113, 155, 159-168, 

242, 256, 306, 307 
Camilli, Annibale, 81 
Campagnola (district), 31-33 
Campana, Stanislas, 281 
Campidoglio Gallery (Rome), 137 
Canacci, The Marchese Taccoli, 126 
Cappello, 81 

Caprara, Antonietta, 10-12 
Caracena, The Marchese di, 234 
Caravaggio, 39 
Carlini, 15 

Carnesecchi, Simonc, 388 
Carpi, 2, 9, 14, 15, 19, 48, 126, 337 

Girolamo da, 173, 270 
Carpio, The Marchese del, 177 
Carracci, The, 43, 123, 170, 2:3, 223, 270, 271, 

Carracci, Agostino, 228 

Annibale, 123, 2S2, 2,2,y 357, 39' 

Lodovico, 123 
Casa, t;iovanni della, 82 
Casalmaggiore, 375 
Casanova, Giovanni, 178 
Casapini (writer), 191 
Caselli, Cristoforo, see TempercUi 
Casio, 16, 82 

Castelvetro, Lodovico, 17, 175 
Castiglionc, Baldassarrc, 21, 70, 87 

Catanci, Federigo, 23 

(Tirolamo, 93 
Catherine II. (of Russia), 178 
Cavaccppi, 178 
Cavalcaselle, 63 
Cavallari, Alessandro dci, 39 

Antonio dei, 39 
Cavazzola, Fietro, 1S7 
Caviceo, Jacopo, 18 
Caxes, Eugenic, 313 
Cellini, Benvenuto, 3, 139 
Cesena, 54 

Ceva, C.iacomo da, 44 
Cliarlcs I. (of England), 303, 305, 3:2 
Charles II. (of Spain), 234 
Charles IV. (of Spain), 178, 181 
Charles V. (Emperor), 81, 82, 83,8:;, 150, 192, 

Charles \-1 1 1, (of France\ 12 
Chatswiirth, 269 
Chierici. Oliva, 153 

riiri'.l ill tlir (nii-dcn of Ccthsciiiaih\ 226, 231 
( / ' . ,'7v of His Mother, 103 

' !"■ ■ I - .^-'den), 313, 314 

(Ml,,,. i,,.,:,,Miii.ta, 58, 149,250 
Cn-iaco ot .Ancona, 49 
Citta di Castello, 238 
Clarke, Sir Simon, 230 
Clement MI., 150, 157, 373 
Coccapani, see Reggio, Bishop of 

Francesco, 15 
Cochin, Charles Nicholas, 346 
Colla, Uonna Briseide, 27S 
Colleone, Bartolomeo, 81 
Colombini, Cosimo, 126 
Colonna Gallery, 223, 230 
Michelangelo, 275 
Pirro, 310 
Prospero, 193, 194 
Vittoria, 77, 82 
Colorno (near Turin), 280 
Couccpfion, The (by G. Mazzola-Bedoli), 377 
Contarelli, Francesco, 34, 336 
Conti, Girolamo, 29, 336, 339 
Coradusz, 176 
Coreza, Bartolomeo de, 40 
Corneille, Michel, 374 
Coronaiio7i of the Virgin, TY/c (fresco), 213-216, 

Corradini, Corradino, 32 
Correggeschi (Lords of Correggio), 27, 28 
Correggio (city), 2, 9, 14, 15, 26, 27, 28, 30-34, 
38-40, 42, 47, 48, 52, 65, 69, 70, 1 53^ > 55- 
168, 273, 274, 307, 309, 327, 382 
Agnese da, 38 

Antonio da, see AUegri, Antonio 
Borso da, 28, 89 
Cassandra da, 81 
Chiara da, 84, 307, 327 
Costanza da, 40, 127 
Gian Francesco da, 309 
Giberto da, 13, 27, 28, 32, 40, 44, 76 
Girolamo da, 82 
Guido da, 31 
Isotta da, 81 

IVIanfredo da, 38, 83, 274 
Nicolo da, 40, 89, 155 
Corso, Rinaldo, 43, 44, 64, 78, 81, 82, 90 
Cortemaggiore, 9, 18 

Cossa, Francesco, 49, 50 

Costa, Lorenzo, 10, 21, 46, 48, 49, 51, 66, 67, 70, 

71, 98, 100, 148 
Costabili Gallery (Ferrara), 99 
Coiignola, Francesco, 149 
Coypcl, Charles, 314 
Cremona, 146, 147, 193, 369, 379 
Crespi, Cavalierc Benigno, 54, 58, 60, 101 
Crivelli, The Uuca, 17S 
Croce, Brachino, 90 
Cucchiari, Giovanni, 39 
Cupid forging the Bow, 313 

D.\Mi.\NO, Master, 187 
Daniie, 311-317, 352, 359 
Dante, 6, 44, 146, 167 
David, Lodovico Antonio, 232 
Davolio. Vinccnzo, 127, 128 

Tin-, 191, 22 


Dispute if the Sacnvnent, 1 

Dodi, Stefano, 251 

Dolce, Lodovico, 351, 352, 387 

Dolci, 82 

Dolcibelli. Benedetto, 15, 19 

Doman, see Allegri, Pellegrino 

Donesmondi, 7 1 

Doni, Anton Francesco, 388 

Doria-Pamfili Gallery (Rome), 324 

Dossi, The (family), 43 

Dosso, 48, 66, 68, 69, 70, 120, 328, 330 
Dresden, 54, 55, 58, 95, 269, 276, 279 

Gallery, 275, 289, 295, 389 
Dubois, Cardinal, 296 
Duro, Rinaldo, 39 
Dutillot, Guillaume, 280 

Eece Homo, 226, 227, 230, 305 
Education of Cupid, The, 301, 304-307 
Emilia, The, 8, 9, 15, 26, 30, 42, 47 
Enrico of Lodi, 39 
Enza, The (river), 18 
Enzola, Guidolino da, 250 
d'Epinailles, Comte, 314 
Erasmus, 20 
Erba, Da, 3S0 

lorio da, 167, 253 
Ercole III., sec Modena, Duke of 
Erri, The (family), 43. 50 
d'Este, Francesco, 296 

Isabella, 21, 86-91, 165, 236, 274, 322 
Lionello, 48 
Cardinal Luigi, 175 
Rinaldo, 134 
Sigismondo, 1 1 
Estense Gallery (Modena), 182 
Estensi, The (family), 6, 8, 11, 12, 20, 27, 28, 39, 

48, 149, 294, 295 
Esterhazy Collection, 178 
E\erardo of Parma, 145 

F.\BRIC0 (commune), 36 
Fabrizi, Signor Paolo, 170 

Count V'incenzo, 337 
Fanano, 1 1 
Farncse, .Alessandro, 382 

Collection, 170 

Farnese, Francesco, 278 

Margherita (Sister Maura), 117, 118 

Ottavio, 135 

Paul, Ji-t' Paul III. 

Ranuccio, 1 17 
Farosi, Tommaso, 94 
Fasolo, Antonio, 146 
Fassi, Melchiorre, 105, 106 
Feo, Giacomo, 7 
Ferdinand VII. (of Naples), 234 
Ferrara, 2, 6, 8, 20, 28, 39, 43, 48, 50, 52, 55, 84, 
148, 233 

Bartolomeo de, see Bartolomeo 

Duke of, 135 
Ferrari, Luca, 94 
Ferrarini, Agostino, 340 
Fieravante, 21 
Fiorenzuola d'Arda, 245 
Flanders, 39, 40, 48 
Florence, 4, 6, 8, 28, 52, 332 
Fois, Tommaso, 193, 121 
Foix, Gaston de, 8, 121 
Fontanellato, Castle of, 375 
Fontanelli, The (family), 155 
Forli, Melozzo da, see Melozzo 
Fornori, Simone, 52 
Fornovo, Battle of, 8 
Fosdondo, 36 

Francesca of Brandenburg, 41 
Francesco III., see Modena, Duke of 
Francia, Francesco, 10, 20, 43, 44, 46, 47, 49, 

58, 66, 98, 10.8, 145, 147-149, 167 
Francis 1. (of France), 150, 192 
Frankfort-on-the-Main, 119 
Frederick the Great, 314 
Frigeri, Franceso, 146 
Frizzoni, Dr. Gustavo, 99, 137, 181, 231, 235 

G.^IB.-VZZI, Ippolita, 372 
Galeotto, 13 
Galossi, Galosso, 50 
Gambara, Gian Francesco, 76 

Lattanzio, 328, 329 

Uberto, 84 

Veronica, 41, 69, 76-86, 236, 274, 299, 307, 
308, 310 
Gandino del Grano, Giorgio, 251, 369, 378 
Ganymede (fresco in the Modena Gallery), 128- 

Ganymede (Vienna Gallery), 313, 319-321 
Garimberti The (family), i 54 

Galeazzo, 251 
Gatti, Bernardino (// Soiaiv), 266, 379 
Gautier, Th^ophile, 171 
Geneva, 328 
Ghislieri, Bonaparte, 67 
Giacomo Antonio of Reggio, 146 
Gian Galeazzo (Visconti), 81 
Giarola, Giovanni, 382 
(Horgione, 48, 363-365 
(Hotto, 360 

Ciiovanni Battista of Lodi, 39 
Giovanni delle Bande Nere, 8 

of Flanders, 40 

Fra, see Buralli 

Francesco of Torchiara, 150 

of Pavia, 146 

di I'ietro, 39, 69 

Giovanni di Pietro di Giovanni, 39 

of Rubiera, 29 
Giraldi, Lilio, 14, 82 
Godoy, Don Emmanuele, iSi, 305 
Gonzaga, Alessandro (of Novellara), 127, 195 

Camilla, 16 

Collection, 125 

Costanza, 77 

Eleanor, 23 

Federigo (Marquis of Mantua), 70 

Federigo (Lord of Bozzolo), 193 

II. (Duke of Mantua), 311, 325, 3S1, 386 

Ferrante, 17 

Filippo, 124 

Francesco (of Novellara), 16 

Francesco (Lord of Mantua), 55, 71 

Gian Pietro (of Novellara), 40 

Isabella, see d'Este, Isabella 

Luigi, 81 

Taddea, 12 

Vincenzo (Duke of Modena), 1 17 

Vincenzo II. (Duke of Mantua), 304 
Gonzaghi, The (family), 6, 9, 16, 27, 39, 40, 61 

67, 68, 70, 75, 86, 149 
Gonzales de Villena, 310 
Gonzate, Damiano da, 250 

Filippo da, 250 
Gotti, Nicolo dei, 254 
Grandi, Ercole, 49 
Grapaldo, Francesco Maria, 147 
Grassi, Gian Battista, 332 
Grillenzoni, Francesco, 119, 174 

Giovanni, 119, 175, 176 
Grimani (of Venice), 122 
Gritti, The (family), 124 
Gualdo, Girolamo, 29 
Guarino (poet), 48 
Guastalla, 9, 13, 15, 16, 27 
Guercino, 224, 296, 298, 303 
Guglielmo of Tolosa, 187 
Guicciardini, Francesco, 150, 193 
Guidiccioni, Monsignor, 157 
Guidotto, Giovanni, 131, 236 
Gustavus, Prince of Sweden, 314 
Guzman, Don Ramirez de, 234 

H.^iMPTON Court, 61, 114, 118, 165, 239 

Hercolani (family), 234 

Hermitage, The (St. Petersburg), 176, 178 

Hercdias, 85, 120, 122 

Hope, Henry, 315 



J.VHACH, 304, 322 

Collection, 322, 324 
Jansen (writer), 149 
Jodo, Jacopo di, 38 
Julius II., 14, 22, 66, 67, 150, 157 
Jupiter, The Loves (i/ (cartoons), 325, 386 

KnK\li\Hll.I.KR, Count, 313 

L.\MO, Pietro, 234, 38S 
Lancellotti (chronicler), 45, 29; 
Landi, Ortensio, 64, 65, 341, 387 
Landini, Pietro, 94 
Lanfranco, Giovanni, 240 
Laniere, Nicholas, 303, 304 


Lanzi, L., 71, 328-330, 364, 365 

Latino, Master, 39, 40 

Lapcyrifere Collection, 181 

Lautrec, 193 

Leda, 311, 313, 314, 317 

Lelmi, Snnone, 238 

Leo X., 150, 157, 192 

Leonardelli Jesuit writer), 350 

Leonardo da Vinci, 48, 65, 72, 87, 148 149, 

344, 355- 357, 363, 364 
Leoni, (jian Hattista, 391 

Leone, 312 

Ponipeo, 233, 312 
Lepidus, Marcus Einilius, 143 
Lionbruno, Lorenzo, 66, 70, 7 1 
Lodovico il Moro, 28 
Lomazzo, 232, 233, 311, 312, 364, 391 
Lombardi, Gian Battista, 38, 80, 119 
Lombardy, 51 

Londonderry, Marquis of,, 230, 305 
Lon^hi, The (family), 43 
I.os.lM, Th. M„„ly),43 
!...., I,,. 1,1, ,i,„i. 147, 187 

i.t.ll.., I ,,M l,,.i, 107, 120, 364, 365 

Lorenzo ul .Milan .engineer), 146 
Louis XII. (of trance), 15 

XIV. (of France), 176, 229, 304, 323 
Louvre, The, 55, 220, 269, 304, 322 
Lucca, 372 

Luchino, Bernardino di, 39, 69 
Ludovico of Parma, 146 
Ludovisi, Cardinal, 234 
Lusenti, Baldassarre, 40 

M.\CHI.\VELLI, 3, 150 

Madonna, The Allnnca, 12S, 131-13S, 30; 
Tin- l!ol,xnim\ no 
/■//,■ Cain/><in\ 1 10 
I'/ie Casidnidi^^i^iore, 119 
dclla Ccsta, the, 176, 179- 181 
del Lattc, The, 176-179 
della Scala, The, 241, 242, 3S7 
della StodeHa, The, 115, 284-289, 362 
with St. I'rancis, The, 92-99, 106, 113, . 
wtth St. Gen/ye, The, 295-300, 346, 362, 
TC'/th St. James and St. Joseph, 1 19, 305 
■7.'//// St. Jerome, The, 173,277-284,346, 
loith St. Selkistian, The, 275-277 
■loith the Ral'tut, The, see Zint^anila La 
with the two Children, 77;f (Frankfort 

the-Main), ng 
with the two Children, The (The V\: 
Madrid), 1 14, 305 

Madonnina, Francesco, 295 

Madrid, 114, 118, 305, 313 

Madrazo, Jose, 235 

Mae:do'.„ //; //■, Pesert, The, 274 
■ .236-238 

M.n:„ 1!,. iM.nly), 52 

M,il.i,:ii 1, \lr--,indro, 131 

Malaspiua, Luiyi, 108 

Malatesta, Sigismondo, 7 

Malatesti, The (family), 6 

Malazappi, Frate Giovanni, 391 

Males so, II, 244 

Malvasia, C. C, 47, 213 

Mandrio, 36 

Mandriolo, 36 

Mangoni, Antonio, 39 

Mantegna, Andrea, 3, 21, 48, 52-55, 57-59, 61, 

62, 66-69, 7', 72, 98, loi, 102, 166 
Mantua, 2, 6, 8, 23, 48, 54, 55, 57, 59, 62, 66-72, 
87, 122, 148 
Duke of {see also Cionzag.i), 36, 154, 192, 

Gallery, 301 

Marioiti, Dr. Giovanni, 206 

Marrioi^e of St. Catherine, The, 29, 104, 

Marriage of the Virgin, 'The {hy Kaphaen, 
Martini, 153, 165 
M.irtyrdoiii ofSt.Plaeidiis, The, 191,219 22: 

.\l.,,,,iiri. ( .M.linal, 304, 323 
Al,i//.i, An.L^rlo, 229 

Abate .Andrea, 169, 191, 280 
Mazzola, Francesco, see Parmigianino 
Michele, 188, 373 
Pietro Ilario, 188, 373 
Mazzola-Bedoli, (lirolamo, 189, 251, 255, 

Mazzoli, The (family), 43, 147, 369 
Mazzucchi, Nicolo, 194 
Medici, The, 6 

Cardinal, de', 310 
Constantino, 72 
Cosimo, Cardinal de', 182 
Giovanni de', 7 
Giovanni, 72 
Melozzo da Forli, 62, 63 
Mengs, Raphael, 54, 62,63, '70, '/S, '^i, 
186, 216, 228, 229, 232, 272, 276, 289, 
295, 306, 323, 324, 329, 35' 
Merlini, Bartolomeo, 185 
Giovanni, 185 
Girolama, 36, 184, 274 
Merlo, Ippolito, 81 
Metternich, Prince, 392 
Meyer, Julius, 26, 50, 54, 57, 58,69, 137. 
168, 170, 171, 175, 178, 179, 181, 1S2, 
233, 234, 241, 255, 269, 2S5, 288, 312, 
320, 321, 324, 328, 330, 331, 392 
Migliorotti, Atalante, go 
Mignaty, Madame .^Ibani, 175, 2S5 
Milan, 6, 8, 18, 39, 54, 58, 66, 72, i 10, 137. 
150, 151, 281, 312 
Duke of, 28 

(Municipal Museum), 107 
(Academy of Fine .Arts), 181 
.Milanesi (art-writer), 149 
Mirandola, 2, 13, 14, 44, 296 

Pico della, see Pico 
Mitelli, .A.gostino, 275 

Modena, 2, 12, 13, 42, 43, 45, 46, 48, 50, 
173, 174, 182, 238, 276, 278, 389, 295, 297, 
309- 33^ 


Modena, Duke of (Alfonso I\'.\ 275 

(Ercole III.), 336 

(Francesco I.), 132, 134. '3''% 295, 296 

(Francesco III.), 275 

(Rinaldo), 124 

Academy of, 336 
Moile, Damiano da, 137 
Molza (writer), 16, 81, 82 

Annibale (governor of Correggio), 95 
Mond, Mr. L., 215 
Monferrato, Marchese di, 330 
Moni, Domenico, 295 
Montechiarugolo, 9, 18 
Montecorvino, Giovanni da, 30 
Montefeltro, 6 

Antonio da, 1 5 
Montesino, Gian Ludovico, 94 
Montini, The (family), 155 
Montino, Bartolomeo, 155 

Scipione, 154, 167, 254, 287, 325 
Morelli, Giovanni, 46, 50, 99, 100, loi 103 

Munari Chapel, 116 

Pellegrino, 51 
Mmiarini Count, 337 
Miindler, Otto, 137, 177, 324 
Murat, 230, 305 
Muratori, 232, 1 78 
Naples, 1 18, 305 

(National Museum), 116, 170 
Napoleon I., 281, 315 
National Gallery (London), 181, 230 
Nativity, The, see Nottc, La 
Nieuwenhuys, C. J., 181 
Noli me tangere, 226, 234, 235, 3S8 
Notte, La, loi, 195, 289-295, 346 
Novara, 20 

Novellara, 2, 9, 12, 15, 16, 40, 42, 123, 124. 
Nude Figure of tJic Saviour, sec I'nian. 

Nys, Daniele, 304 

OdesCALCHI, Don Livio, 314 
Orange, Prince of, 8 
Orleans, Charlotte of, 296 

Louis of, 314, 315 

Gallery, 234 
Orsi, Lelio, 130, 382 
Orsini, Muzio, 177 
Ottonelli, Domenico, 176, 319 

Pacediano, Nicola, 18 

Paganino, Antonio, 189, 213 

Palatine Library (Parma), 215, 239 

Palazzo dei Diam.inii Fen. 11,1', 52 
dei Signori 1 ,Hi>:_^h. . ;: 
del Giardino I'.n nu . :.\ \. 329 
della PilotUi rann.i,, J43, 246 
del Te (Mantua), 130, 352 

Pallavicini, The (family), 9 

Pallavicino, Cristoforo, 192 
fJian Ludovico, 18, 19 
Veronica, 16 

Palma \'ccchio, 107 

Palmaroli, Pictro, 277 

Panriroli, Alberto, 300, 327 

Panclli. 12; 

Paris, 2S0, 315 

Alessandro, 34 
Gherardino, 34 
Parma, 2, 8, 9, 22, 27, 36, 42-44, 51, 60-62, 70, 
84, 143-150, 152-157, 165, 166, 168,268, 
271, 281, 307, 327, 330, 335, 343, 345, 369, 
372, 376, 379 
(Accademia di belle Arti), 169, 280 

Bishop of, 246 

Cathedral, 226, 241, 248-272, 319, 328 

Duke of, 280 

Gallery, 277, 284, 331, 378, 380 
(Palazzo Communale), 338 
(Piazza Grande), 340 

Siege of, 274 
Parmigianino (Francesco Mazzola), 23, 189, 250 

313, 319, 320, 321, 331, 358, 369, 373-377 
Parnassus (by Raphael), 87 
Pasquicr (collector), 314 
Passarotti, Pjartolomeo, 270, 295, 390 
Paul III., 150 
Pavia, 57, 58, 146, 379 

(Communal Museum), 107 
Peace, Prince of the, see Godoy 
Pellegrini, Bianca, 7, 22 
Perez Collection, 312 
Periberti, Gottifredo, 176 
Perugia, 6 

University of, 3 
Perugino, 98 
Peruzzi, Baldassare, 15 
Pesne, Antoine, 314 
Petrarch, 6, 27, 82 
Philip II. fof Spain), 312 

IV. (of Spain), 234 
Pia, Alda, 69 

Piacenza, 18, 37, 84, 143, 146, 379 
Piacenza, Giovanna, 151-155, 157 
Piazza, Galeazzo, 254 
Piazzoli, Bernardina, see Aromani 
Pico family (della Mirandola), 9 

Antonio, 13 

Gian Francesco, 14 

Gian Tommaso, 14 

(;io\anni, 13, 14, 30, 163 

Giulia, 13 

Violante, 13 
Piemontesio, Giacomo, 39 
Piero della Francesca, 48 
Pinacci, Giuseppe, 349 
Pinturicchio, 148 
Pio family, 9, 14 

Alberto, 14, 15 

Ercole, 189, 213 

Gian Marsiglio, 15 

Marco, 14, 15, 30 
Pisa, 5 

(Campo Santo), 5 
Pisanello, 48 
Pisano, Nicola, 144 
Pitti Gallery (Florence), 303 
Pomponaccio, 20 
Ponz, 'Antonio, 232 
Ponzio, Paolo Gottardo, 312 
Po, Teresa del, 177 
Pordenone, 19 

Porto, Count Alessandro, 16 
Portrait of a Physician, i 19 

Pozzo, Pietro dal, 3S3 

Prado, The (Madrid), 165, 234 

Prague, 313 

Prati, The (family), 165, 228, 229 

Marchese, 230 
Pratoneri, Alberto, 293, 294 
Proii-ssion to Calvary, The, 380 
Prudhon, Pierre, 314 
Pungileoni, Luigi, 26, 31, 37, 44, 45, 69, 85, 124, 

155. 174, 175, 185, 191, i'14, ::-9, ^30, 269, 278, 

285, 295, 328, 336 
Pusterla, Lucrezia, 307 

Raxc.oni family, 27 

Claudia, 82"'^"' 

Claudio, 13, 233 

Fulvio, 233, 294 

Ginevra, 81 
Rails, Pietro, 121 
Raphael, 3, 10, 20, 26, 48, 84, 85, 14S, 150, 

344, 356 
Ratti, Carlo Giuseppe, 54, 158, 174, 186,. 

328, 329, 353 
Ravenna, 43 

Reggie, 2, II, 12, 31, 40, 48, 51. 52, 146, 
234, 238, 293, 300 

Bishop of, 132, 134 

Cesare da, 42, 52, 86, 149, 187, 1S8 
Rembrandt, 303 
Reni, Guido, 289, 298, 357 
Renier, R., 86 

Collection, 124 
Repose in Ei^vpt, llie, 11 3- 11 5, 128, 137, 

165, 178 
Resta, Sebastiano, 30, 62, 63, 66, 85, 177, : 

.329, 335. 340, 355 
Riario, Girolamo, 7 
Ricci, Sebastiano, 170 
Ricciarda, Maria, 124 
Richardson, Jonathan, 365 
Rimini, 6, 143 

Lattanzio da, 147 
Riolunato, 1 1 
Rizzoli, Giovanni, 129 
Roberti, Ercole, 49, 50, 52 
Roccabianca, 7, 146, 309 
Romano, Giulio, 21, 84, 130, 31 1, 352 
Rome, 6, 8, 13, 150, 170, 374 

(Academy of St. Luke), 336 
Rondani, Francesco Maria, 189, 192, 216, . 

250, 369, 370 
Rondanini, The Marchese, 216 
Rosa, Delia, see Montino 

Marchese della, 229, 230, 27S 
Rosaspina, Francesco, 280 
Roseto, Bartolomeo, 146 
Rossano, Princess, 177 
Rossi, The (family), 9, 27 

Collection, 331 

Pier Maria, 7, 21, 146 
Rotterdam, 20 
Rousseau (painter), 324 
Rovere, Francesco Maria della, 23 
Rovazzi, Giacomo, 146 
Rudolph II. (Emperor), 313 
Ruscelli, 82 
Ruta (writer), 213, 214 

S\Li\iiiM Loienzo, 270 jS9 

Suchclti 1 1 inco, 6 

S iLchi rommiso 146 

\aiiit h i> Ihi I II wiiK <)ftiil)tych\ 123 

Cath I , 

Cecili I I I I 4 167 

John I I uipt>ch), 123 

John ti I III I tusLo>, 218 

M nthi ')■, 104 10, i.i 
Sunt Mn\ Mou ui .Si 
S nntc ( cncMcxc -Xbbt of ji4 
SihmlKnt I-n 5 144 249 
SdMiii Cisi(Floience), 228 
S m 1 1 i^io j6 
Stn ( 101^10, tiidinaldi, 177 

Martino, 30, 36, 310 
Rector of, 330 

Paolo, Convent of (Parma), 1 5 1 - 1 68 

Prospero, 36 

Secondo, Jacopo da, 87 
San Giovanni Evangelista, Church of (I'arma), 
42, 150-152, 162, 166, 168, 186-219, 256, 259, 
264, 266, 269, 344, 357, 370 
Sandrart, 174, 233, 351 
Sannazaro, 82 
Santa Maria della Steccata, Church of (Parma), 

Santa Maria della Vittoria (by Mantegna), 

Santi, Sigismondo, 15 
Sanvitale, 375 

Beatrice, 81 

Cardinal, 278 

Nicolo Quirico, 381 
Sanvitali, The (family), 27 
Sardinia, King of, 330 
Sarto, Andrea del, 26, 47, 69, 352 
Savonarola, 14 
Scaligeri, The (family), 27 
Scaltriti, Ippolita, 2,0 
Scandiano, 2, 9, 10, 11 
Scannelli, Francesco, 53, 224, 22S, 291, 298, y^}„ 

Schall, Dr. Theodor, 170 
Schifanoia Palace (Ferrara), 49, 50 
Schlcsinger, Jakob, 314 
Scotti, Casa (Milan), 37S 
.Sebastiano di (iiovanni di Pietro, 39 
Scgni, Fabio, 3S7 
Sclli, Nicola, 92 
Sforza, Alessandro, 386 

Bona, 76 

Caterina, 7 

Caterina Nobili, 175 

(jinevra, 9 
Sforzi, The (family), 6, 21 
Siena, 15, 16, 49, 372 - 
Sigmaringen, 58, 60, i io 
Signoretti, Francesco Maria, 233 
Sinigaglia, 3 

Siro, Don (of Austria), 122, 125 
SIxUis 1\"., 28 
Snicnddi, Smcraldo, 15S 
Sodoma, 149 
Sogari, Ranuccio, 34 
Soiaro, II, see Gatti, B. 
Soliera, 1 10 

Spaccini, (^ian Battista, 43, 276 
Spain, 312 

Stockholm, 313 

Library, 314 
Strozzi, Costanza, 16 
Symonds, John Addington, 357 

Tacconi, Francesco, 146, 147 
Tasso, Bernardo, 13, 21, 82 
Tassoni, Alessandro, 391 
Tebaldeo, Antonio, 20 
Tedeschi, Caetano, 28 1 
TempereUi, Cristoforo Caselh, 147, 

250, 369 
Tessin, Count, 314 
Thode, Dr. H., 119 
Tiarini, Alessandro, 1 13 
Tieck, Ludwig, 272 
Tiepolo, Gianbattista, 272 
Tinti, Giovanni B., 244 
Tintoretto, 330 

Tiraboschi, Girolamo, 26, 43, 45, 85, 120, 
122, 158, 169, 174, 191, 216, 229, 266, 2S5, 
335, 336, 340 
Titian, 47, 55, 151, 268 
Tognino, sec Bartolotti 
Torchiara, 7, 21, 146, 150, 370 
Torelli, The (family), 16, 18 

AchiUe, 16 

Barbara, 18 

Caterina, 40, 127 

Francesco, 1 54 

Ludovica, 16 
Torlonia, Prince, 177 
Torre, Cristoforo della, 244 
Torrentino, Lorenzo, 388 
Torri, Flaminio, 276 
Tortona, Bishop of, 340 
Toschi, Paolo, 203, 381 
Touraine, 330 
Tours Gallery, 330 
Traballesi, Giuliano, 353 
Trasinaro, 1 1 

Trent, Council of, 155, 158 
Treviso, Vincenzo, 147 
Trissino (writer), 82 
Trombetta, Giberto, 39 
Tura, Agnolo di, 6 

Cosm^, 49, 50 
Turin, 330 
Tuscany, 28, 48, 332 

Ubicino, Giberto di, 39 

Uffizi, 55, 57, 58, 137, 165, 170, 182, 270, 3c 

Ugoleto, Taddeo, 165 

Umanita di Crista (centre of triptych), 123 

Umbria, 48 

Urbani, Nicolo, 246 

Urbino, 6, 15 

Duke of, 23 
Urlichs, L., 312 

\'alla, Giorgio, 1 5 

Valle, Ferdinando de, 310 

\"anloo, Carle, 314 

Vanni, Francesco, 113 

Varchi, 82 

Vasari, 29, 44, 45, 46, 49, 51, 64, 65, 
173, 175, 233> 234, 243, 269, 282,284, 
3251 328, 329, 33°) 33'> 332, 333j 334, 
349, 351, 353, 357, 362, 364, 366, 374, 

\'asto, The Marchese del, 309, 310, 38^^ 
67, iSg, Vedriani, Lodovico, 45 

Vela, Vincenzo, 340 

Venice, 6, 8, 51, 52, 147, 149, 151 

V'enturi, Adolfo, 48, 55, 175, 238, 269 

Viadana, 373 

Viardot, L., 230 

Vice, an allegory, 322 

Vicenza, 16 

Vienna, 269, 305, 313 

Vigarini family, 30 

\'igna delta Rcgina ('Turin), 330 

Infant Christ, 1 76, 1 8: Gak'a//o, 81 

Piero, 233 
\'itelli, Vitello, 193 
\'ivarini, Alvise, 147 
\'olta, Leopnldo, 71 

Waacen, Dr., 178, 231 
Weimar Museum, 245, 320, 321 
Wellington, Duke of, 234 
Werff, Adrien van der, 237, 238 
Weyden, Roger van der, 48 
Wiesbaden, 131 
Windsor (Royal Library),"269, 
Winckelmann, 178, 314 

Young Faun, The, 106 
Yriarte, Charles, 72, 74 

Zaxetti, 350 
Zanichelli, Carlo, 270 
Zanotti, Antonio Maria, 335 
Zappata, Maurizio, 158, 186 

Don Pietro, 309 
Zarotti, Giovanni, 147, 250 
Zeno, .Apostolo, 313 
Zinella, Conto della, 39 
Zingarella, La, 114-117, 137, 359 
Zuccardi, Antonio, 93 

Chronicle, 335 

Lucio, 85 

Quirino, 92 
Zucchi, Gian Francesco, 286 

Marc Antonio, 188, 191